Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Merck won a defense verdict today in the latest Vioxx trial. Plaintiff Charles Laron "Ron" Mason had taken Vioxx for ten months, and alleged that it caused his heart attack. During trial, Mason realized during cross-examination that he had stopped taking Vioxx several days before the heart attack, which apparently came as a surprise both to Mason and to his lawyer. In closing arguments, Merck contended that Vioxx cannot cause a heart attack if it is out of the system, which occurs within a few days. The case was tried in E.D. La. before Judge Eldon Fallon, who is overseeing the federal multidistrict litigation. Here's an article in the Washington Post by Janet McConnaughey (AP), Jury Clears Merck in Latest Vioxx Trial, and one from Russell McCully (Reuters), Merck wins federal Vioxx case in New Orleans. Despite a few major losses, Merck has won a majority of the Vioxx cases that have gone to trial, and each defense verdict strengthens Merck's position in the litigation and supports Merck's strategy of trying each case individually, avoiding both aggregation and settlement.