Merck says to pay $688 million to settle Enhance lawsuits

Merck & Co on Thursday said it has agreed to pay $688 million to settle two U.S. investor lawsuits over its disclosures concerning the Enhance drug study released in early 2008.

Investors claimed they lost money when results of the study were published.

Merck said it has recorded a $493 million after-tax charge for the settlements. It said this reduced previously-reported fourth-quarter profit per share to 30 cents from 46 cents.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)