Company news from the 03/13/07 news brief

A New Jersey jury on Monday ordered Merck to pay $47.5 million in damages after finding the drugmaker’s Vioxx was responsible for a plaintiff’s heart attack. Merck said it intends to appeal the verdict and the damages. European database and software solutions provider Cegedim has announced plans to acquire sales, marketing solution provider Dendrite in a deal worth approximately $751 million. Dorland Global Corporation launched a new Web site at, featuring a blog by Dorland Global co-founder, Harry Sweeney, a longtime advertising agency veteran who also serves as chair of the Coalition for Healthcare Communications. The blog will feature guest diarists, including agency executives, clients and colleagues in the healthcare communications industry, according to a news release. Publicis Groupe has acquired sales, marketing and Prescription Drug Marketing Act (PDMA) compliance firm Pharmagistics. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Pharmagistics, based in Somerset, NJ, offers four key services including distribution of samples and literature to pharmaceutical sales forces, direct marketing solutions (direct-to-practitioner), PDMA compliant sample accountability services and specialty logistical services. Pharmagistics will remain a separate unit with its own identity operating within Publicis Groupe's Publicis Healthcare Communications Group, a Publicis Groupe news release said.