Thursday, November 16, 2006
Article in the Wall Street Journal -- Merck Adds Another Win In Vioxx Trials, by Avery Johnson and Heather Won Tesoriero:
In a case that adds momentum to Merck & Co.'s Vioxx defense strategy, the drug maker prevailed in the 11th trial over the painkiller after a New Orleans jury cleared the company of responsibility in a man's heart attack.
Merck's win, which came after the jury deliberated just 90 minutes, gives the company a slight edge on the trial scorecard with six victories and four losses. (Another Merck victory was tossed out and will be retried in January.) It still faces some 24,000 lawsuits, however, and the pendulum could swing back in the plaintiffs' direction. Both sides are eager to notch as many early victories as possible before judges overseeing the litigation start corralling them into a settlement.
Merck's strategy of fighting each lawsuit one by one, and its recent winning streak in the courtroom, have helped to restore confidence in the prospects of the Whitehouse Station, N.J., company. After being preoccupied with Merck's Vioxx liability for much of the past two years, investors lately have become much less worried about the litigation.