Merck wins in second Vioxx trial

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The jury in the Atlantic City, N.J., Vioxx trial has found Merck not liable.
Merck lawyers persuaded jurors that the heart attack suffered by Idaho postal worker Frederick Humeston was unrelated to his two-month use of Vioxx, citing a host of other cardiovascular risk factors suffered by the plaintiff.
The verdict, following the $253 million decision against Merck in plaintiff-friendly Angleton, Texas, last August, should provide a morale boost at Merck and could have implications for future Vioxx litigation. A string of wins for Merck or a mixed record could deter trial lawyers from pursuing lengthy and costly lawsuits against the company.
The firm still faces more than 6,400 suits alleging injuries due to Vioxx, which Merck pulled little more than a year ago after studies showed the drug increased cardiovascular risks in patients with preexisting heart conditions.
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