Healthcare Industry News: Bard
News Release - January 22, 2007
Plaintiff Drops VIOXX(R) Suit against Merck Five Weeks Before First Trial in Philadelphia State CourtWHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J.--(HSMN NewsFeed)--Just five weeks before trial was set to begin in the Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County, Angela McCool voluntarily dismissed with prejudice her lawsuit against Merck & Co., Inc. in which she alleged that VIOXX caused her husband's heart attack and death. The case was selected for trial by plaintiff's counsel and would have been the first VIOXX case to go to trial in Philadelphia.
"We believe that our evidence was strong in this case and Merck was prepared to go forward with the trial," said Ted Mayer of Hughes HubBard & Reed, Merck's outside counsel.
In this case, Angela McCool alleged that VIOXX caused her husband's heart attack and death even though her husband experienced symptoms of heart trouble long before he took VIOXX and had several risk factors for heart disease, including hypertension, high cholesterol and obesity.
As of September 30, 2006, the claims related to more than 3,000 alleged VIOXX users have been dismissed before being scheduled for trial. Of those, more than 1,100 were dismissed with prejudice either by plaintiffs themselves or by judges, meaning they cannot be filed again. The other 2,000 were dismissed without prejudice.
Of the 29 plaintiffs whose claims have been scheduled for trial, including the plaintiff in this case, the claims of seven were dismissed, the claims of seven were withdrawn from the trial calendar by plaintiffs, juries have decided in Merck's favor nine times and in plaintiffs' favor four times, and there have been three mistrials (one of which has since been retried to a verdict in Merck's favor). A state judge set aside one of the nine Merck verdicts.
As for the four plaintiffs' verdicts, Merck already has filed an appeal or sought judicial review in each of those cases, and in one of those four, a federal judge overturned the damage award shortly after trial.
For information regarding additional cases scheduled for trial in 2007 visit http://www.merck.com/newsroom/vioxx/.
Merck & Co., Inc. is a global research-driven pharmaceutical company dedicated to putting patients first. Established in 1891, Merck currently discovers, develops, manufactures and markets vaccines and medicines to address unmet medical needs. The Company devotes extensive efforts to increase access to medicines through far-reaching programs that not only donate Merck medicines but help deliver them to the people who need them. Merck also publishes unbiased health information as a not-for-profit service. For more information, visit www.merck.com.
This press release contains "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based on management's current expectations and involve risks and uncertainties, which may cause results to differ materially from those set forth in the statements. The forward-looking statements may include statements regarding product development, product potential or financial performance. No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed, and actual results may differ materially from those projected. Merck undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. Forward-looking statements in this press release should be evaluated together with the many uncertainties that affect Merck's business, particularly those mentioned in the cautionary statements in Item 1 of Merck's Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2005, and in its periodic reports on Form 10-Q and Form 8-K, which the Company incorporates by reference.
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