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News Summary: Merck settles cholesterol drug suits

The Associated Press

SUIT SETTLEMENT: Drugmaker Merck agreed to pay $688 million to settle two investor lawsuits over a long delay in releasing results of a study meant to show its blockbuster cholesterol drugs reduced plaque buildup in arteries. But it found that Merck's Zetia and Vytorin were no better than a cheap generic pill.

MERCK RESPONSE: Merck admits no wrongdoing and said it was in its best interest to end the suits.

FINANCIAL IMPACT: Merck took a $493 million charge and restated its 2012 financial results, reducing earnings per share by 16 cents each for the fourth quarter and the full year.