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Merck wins Alabama Vioxx verdict

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Vioxx manufacturer Merck & Co. experienced a courtroom victory last week in Alabama. The jury in the product liability trial found that the Vioxx makers did not hide the serious risks associated with the drug in the case of a man who accused the company of causing his heart attack.

CNNMoney.com reports on the verdict:

“This plaintiff did have many pre-existing risk factors” and the heart attack “was a naturally occurring event,” said Mike Brock, outside counsel for Merck, to CNNMoney.com, noting that the plaintiff had a 30-year history of hypertension, diabetes, obesity and untreated high cholesterol.

Brock said Albright’s attorney tried, unsuccessfully, to incriminate the company by using e-mails from Merck employees that were critical of the Food and Drug Administration.

Merck pulled Vioxx off the shelves in 2004 after a study found that the drug increased the risk of heart attacks and other major cardiovascular problems in patients using it. Since that time, there have been more than 20,000 Vioxx cases filed against the company.