Jury Hears Closing Arguments in Vioxx Class Action Lawsuit at NJ

Severely clogged arteries, obesity etc. caused Elaine Doherty of Lawrenceville, a 68-year-old grandmother’s heart attack; not her use of Vioxx, Merck’s lawyers told jurors during closing arguments in New Jersey’s latest case over the Vioxx, a withdrawn painkiller.

Elaine Doherty of Lawrenceville had lost 100 pounds and taken steps to control her blood pressure, cholesterol level, diabetes and other risk factors. And yet that couldn’t prevent her January 2004 heart attack according to Merck & Co. attorney Diane Sullivan’s statement to the jury.

Doherty’s lawyers have alleged Merck downplayed the risks of Vioxx to doctors and to patients. Jurors will vote on whether Merck failed to warn either group before they can consider whether Merck is to blame for Doherty’s heart attack and should have to pay damages.

Merck faces more than 13,000 Vioxx-related lawsuits and has vowed to fight them. It has already lost three trials so far, with juries awarding multimillion-dollar verdicts in each. The New Jersey trial is the seventh over Vioxx; an eighth trial is under way in Los Angeles.

The jury is to begin deliberating Wednesday morning after receiving instructions from Superior Court Judge Carol Higbee. Link [www.newsday.com/news/local/wire/ny-bc-nj--vioxxtrial0711jul11,0,1036135.story]

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