Still No Settlements as Second Vioxx Trial Begins

As more than 300 potential jurors filled out questionnaires in preparation for the second Vioxx trial starting this week in Atlantic City, N.J., Merck has done an abrupt about-face from previous reports, and won't entertain any "global settlement" of the growing number of lawsuits related to their deadly COX-2 inhibitor.

In fact, Merck General Counsel Kenneth Frazier says his company remains committed to fighting the many thousands of lawsuits one at a time and for the long haul.

One legal expert who has tracked the legal woes of Vioxx says Merck's stance isn't surprising at all, because, one ruling -- the $253 million judgment awarded in a Texas court last month -- doesn't establish a pattern. A growing number of rulings against the mega-drugmaker, however, will do just that.

By the way, you'll get to see for yourselves the kind of legal wrangling Merck will use to convince New Jersey jurors Vioxx had nothing to do a heart attack suffered by a a 60-year-olf postal carrier and Vietnam War veteran. The opening and closing arguments as well as witness examinations will be shown on Court TV.

Merck's opponent, attorney and former amateur boxer Chris Seeger, is no stranger to battling with drug companies: He was a key player in a $690 million settlement against Eli Lilly for patients who developed diabetes or gained weight while taking Zyprexa.

New York Daily News September 13, 2005

Yahoo News September 11, 2005

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