November 21, 2006
Win in Vioxx case is sixth for Merck
A federal jury in New Orleans found in favor of Merck, rejecting a claim that Vioxx caused a man’s 2003 heart attack. The case marked the 11th for Merck involving the withdrawn pain drug. Of these it has won six—including three out of four federal cases—and lost four. (A remaining trial in New Jersey was rescheduled after being overturned.) The company still faces about 24,000 lawsuits and has pledged to address them on an individual basis. The plaintiff in the latest federal case, Charles Laron Mason, took Vioxx for about 10 months before his heart attack but admitted he had not taken it in the days before his heart attack. The jury determined that Merck acted appropriately in the development and marketing of Vioxx and that the drug did not substantially contribute to Mason’s heart attack. Vioxx was withdrawn in 2004 after a study linked it to heart risks. Mason has not decided whether to appeal, his lawyer told the Associated Press. US District Court Judge Eldon Fallon, who is overseeing all of the federal Vioxx litigation, said he wants to press for a settlement after the next federal case, The Wall Street Journal reported.