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MERCK IS TARGET OF TWO PROBES

Drug maker Merck & Co. said that the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department are looking into the company's handling of Vioxx, the blockbuster arthritis drug it pulled off the market Sept. 30 after safety studies showed it increased the risk of heart attacks.

In a regulatory filing Monday, Merck said the company is the subject of a criminal investigation from the Justice Department, which subpoenaed documents on the company's research, marketing and selling activities for Vioxx. The SEC also told the company it was beginning its own informal inquiry regarding the drug.

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