Merck Wins Fourth of Seven Vioxx Trials
Two days ago I wrote about fearsome, defense attorney Diane P. Sullivan, the dazzling lawyer who defends Merck, and who accused a little old lady for her own heart attack, in Celebrate Merck Day.
She didn't disappoint.
The jury agreed with Sullivan. The old lady was to blame herself, for her heart attack. They agreed with Sullivan that plaintiff led a sedentary life, was obese, suffered from diabetes, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and had a family history of heart disease. All of these contributed to her January 2004 heart attack.
As a doctor I can't really blame the jury. This one was a long shot to win and is likely to set up the framework for future litigation.
If you're fat, smoke and live life like a coach potato, your chances of winning the Vioxx lottery may be slim. Trouble is some of those people are bound to get heart attacks with or without Vioxx.
For a jury to decide on that is pretty difficult, and even if some of those obese people were hurt by Vioxx, they're not going to collect.
The victory was the fourth in seven Vioxx trials nationally for Merck, which will appeal the multimillion-dollar verdicts against it in the other three cases.
My guess is that plaintiffs without a lot of risk factors will continue to win in court.
One final thought.
I can't help but wonder what the New Jersey judge, Carol Higbee, (picture) who is overseeing thousands of Vioxx cases is thinking, when she hears about all those risk factors.