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Thursday, April 6th 2006

4.5 Million for a 77 year old Diabetic

Vioxx (according to twelve lay people) caused the heart attack of a 77 year old diabetic.

At least the 58 year old overweight codefendant with high cholesterol only garnered a $45 verdict. Still, seriously, with a 77 year old with serious other pathologic factors that correlate well as risk factors for heart attacks, how can these twelve men and women decide that Vioxx was the major cause of this man’s heart attack and not CAD from diabetes? I’m sure there will an answer buried in a post verdict interview but I’m not sure even if I heard it I’d buy it.

I mean it just seems like they believe the expert witness with the best smile and hair.

According to Point of Law studying a Reuters article there are more than 20,000 Vioxx plaintiffs (some have been combined into trials with multiple defendants). The established risk factors are taking Vioxx longer than 18 months and I wish we had statistics on patients who had done so because taking that by a conservative risk factor would be less than 20,000. Even more damning, it’ll be less than the number of payouts Vioxx makes proving this system just does not do work digesting technical cases.

Meaning I think they’re going to be found at fault or be forced to admit fault in more cases than are reasonable according to the statistics. Many people profiting from this will not have heart problems genuinely caused by Vioxx. God forbid any defendant look at the other poor lifestyle choices they’ve made that may have predisposed them to heart problems.

Seriously, it is disgusting an overweight individual with hypercholesterolemia, for which he admitted poor compliance with drug and diet prescribed to fight such, would ever file a suit blaming Vioxx for a heart attack and actually be found for! Even if he was awarded only forty five dollars, how much did Merck pay trying to defend against his claims? While at the same time he doesn’t pay a dime, as his lawyer works on contingency and hopes for the big payday.

I wouldn’t trust myself to judge the fault of an aircraft manufacturer in a crash (even if it appeared obvious in the media) and I don’t trust a mechanic to decide if Vioxx was the cause of a heart attack.