Two more Vioxx victories for Merck

Merck was awarded one federal and one state court victory related to Vioxx last week. Alabama state court jurors ruled in Merck’s favor Friday, rejecting the claims of a plaintiff who blamed the drugmaker’s withdrawn painkiller Vioxx for his heart attack in 2001. On Wednesday, a federal court in New Orleans also ruled in favor of Merck. “Juries continue to determine that Merck acted responsibly in its research of Vioxx and provided the appropriate information about Vioxx to patients and the medical community,” Merck EVP and general counsel Kenneth Frazier said in a statement. Attorneys for the plaintiff in the Alabama case argued that 57-year-old Gary Albright should receive as much as $5.75 million in his lawsuit filed last year. But jurors speaking with attorneys and reporters in the courtroom after the verdict said Albright had too many health problems before his heart attack to blame Vioxx. In a separate case, a federal jury in New Orleans last Wednesday ruled the drug maker adequately warned of the risks associated with the medicine. The lawsuit was filed by plaintiff Anthony Wayne Dedrick, 50, of Waynesboro, TN, who argued that his heart attack resulted from Merck failing to warn doctors adequately about the risk posed by taking the withdrawn painkiller Vioxx. Merck has won four federal cases involving Vioxx and lost one. In state courts, the drugmaker has won four cases and lost three. A case in New Jersey has been ordered to retrial after jurors sided with Merck.