Friday, July 14, 2006

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.


Anonymous said...

Peter, your comment about the judge is NOT NICE! For all you know she is disabled, in a wheelchair, and can NOT exercise. Or, she might have heart failure, Or, hungeroedema.

And I thought you were such a nice and gentle guy! And you are a doctor too. Disappointed in you.

Anonymous said...

Interesting information I hadn't heard before. Yep, she's a fat ole ugly woman lookin for money.

Well as you stated more elequently than I she does indeed appear to have brought upon herself.

What the hell were her attorney's thinking?

Anonymous said...

Ms Rose

Did you know that some "food" products have been determined to be as addictive
as cocaine? McD's fries, anyone? The brain reacts the same way, some studies have shown.

A good deal of our prepackaged food is brought to us by Philip "just one L, please" Morris and RJR. Every hear of them? The experts at making products more addictive. Do not underestimate the evil in evil corporations.

Want to read something funny? Go to Try not to hurt yourself laughing. Notice that nowhere do they mention Hydrogenated veggy oil (trans fat, if you will). Biggest risk factor for heart attacks, diabetes and more since cigs. Check out

Poison, brought to you by Dupont, and promoted by your kindly old uncle, Sam.

Peter Rost said...

In a way I agree with "Anonymous" since I know the issue about obesity is a touchy subject.

But we have to start talking about this. One in three Americans is obese, and only one in five people in the UK are obese.

The kind of morbid obesity seen in the US is almost unheard of in Europe.

This is not rocket science. It is bad habits: Too many soft drinks, cookies and french fries make you obese, not thin air, not lack of excercise. Just lack of a balanced diet. Sure, there are very rare exceptions.

The epidemic is about to start, when all the really obese kids reach adulthood. We are about to see people dying under their own weight.

So, clearly, the irony in my story is not lost on anyone, and it shouldn't be. We're killing ourselves with the wrong food. And the food industry is doing what they can to make us even fatter.

Morbid obesity is defined as being 100 lbs. or more over ideal body weight and should receive immediate medical intervention. As a doctor, I would hope the judge in this case gets the treatment needed, if not, she may suffer the consequences sooner than many of the plaintiffs.