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Merck found negligent in Vioxx case

Aug 17, 2006 |

Merck was found negligent in the latest Vioxx case, as a jury in New Orleans federal court found that the drugmaker misrepresented the risks of the arthritis painkiller.

Jerry Barnett, 62, a former agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and a former Vioxx patient, had sued Merck, blaming the drug for his non-fatal heart attack. He is fourth plaintiff to successfully sue the company.

Merck pulled its arthritis painkiller Vioxx off the market in 2004, after a Merck-funded study found that the drug increased the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Since that time, some 14,200 cases have been filed against the New Jersey-based drugmaker from former Vioxx patients and their families.

Merck has consistently denied all allegations of wrongdoing, saying that Vioxx did not kill anyone, and has vowed to fight each case individually.

Before Thursday's verdict, Merck was leading the fight with five courtroom wins and three losses. Merck won the most recent case in a Los Angeles state court Aug. 2, when a jury found that Vioxx did not cause a plaintiff's non-fatal heart attack.

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