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Merck Clashes With Judge at Second Vioxx Trial

To put it mildly, Merck attorneys got off on the wrong foot with New Jersey Superior Court Judge Carol Higbee late last week when they launched their defense in the second Vioxx trial.

Higbee threw out the testimony of Merck's lead witness and perhaps its strongest, a company research executive, Friday, igniting a shouting match between a Merck attorney and the judge. Some experts believe the argument could've been a form of ''judge baiting,'' staged strategically by Merck attorneys to demonstrate a judge's bias, prompting a mistrial, although lawyers denied any sort of plan.

Observers also believe the company may seek injunctive relief in the form of an emergency appeal in a higher court to overturn Higbee's ruling, but that hasn't happened yet.

You can't be surprised by the tactics Merck's attorneys are taking to protect their client from financial ruin, considering the $253 million judgment in the first Vioxx trial in a southeast Texas court in late August and no settlements in sight.

The truth is, no one should have to die from taking drugs so the mega-pharmaceuticals can make obscene profits.

MSNBC October 10, 2005

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