Merck has persuaded New Jersey Judge Carol Higbee to reduce the number of cases a jury will hear next from four (4) to two (2) in a victory for Merck. Merck is being sued over the painkiller Vioxx due to claims that it caused heart attacks and strokes.
Opening arguments are scheduled to begin January 22, 2006. Merck has vowed that they will try each and every case individually. There are currently 27,000 Vioxx lawsuits filed in various courts. Merck has won 12 cases in the USA and Judge Higbee has overturned the ninth victory. The next trial will involve the overturned case. The case involves postal worker Fredrick Humeston who survived a heart attack after taking Vioxx. The other plaintiff is Kathleen Hermans Messerschmidt, who’s brother died in 2002 after a heart attack. He was taking Vioxx for almost seven months.
I wonder the outcome of this and how it will shape future trials. I am anxious to see how this plays out.