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Thursday, December 14th 2006

So, We've Got That Going For Us

Merck wins the latest Vioxx case. A federal case in New Orleans.

The jury needed well under two hours to decide that Vioxx was not the primary cause of 51-year-old Anthony Dedrick’s 2003 heart attack and that Dedrick’s physician had adequate warning from Merck of the Vioxx heart risks.

During the trial there was testimony that Dedrick, who took Vioxx for his arthritis for six months before his heart attack, had abused cocaine and alcohol and was a heavy smoker.

“The alcohol and cocaine abuse certainly make it a most challenging case; we recognized that going in,” Birchfield said.

“But we also recognize Mr. Dedrick was taking Vioxx for six months and he was exactly the kind of patient who should not have been taking it.

And oh yeah, he was a diabetic, with hypertension, and a terrible lipid profile. Still, even with the drug use I think this case is less outrageous than say…Garza v. Merck.

With the new HPV vaccine and success in the litigation arena, Merck is holding itself up quite well after what some thought would be a company crushing disaster when Vioxx was first pulled. Maybe this’ll encourage other large manufacturers (laden with resources to fight) to forgo the class action path when there are questions about the validity of plantiff claims (everyone jumps on that bandwagon when commercial products go bad).

Here’s Point of Law on the Dedrick v. Merck case.