Merck & Co. will have to start their third Vioxx trial all over again after a U.S. judge declared a mistrial. Next time around though, there will be new allegations to defend. Recent news surfaced that the company withheld information from the New England Journal of Medicine about a 2000 Vioxx study to make the drug appear safer.
The study that Merck submitted to the journal left out reports of three heart attacks suffered by patients taking Vioxx. The report made it appear that Vioxx caused four times, rather than five times, as many heart attacks as the painkiller naproxen. Even worse for Merck, is that their key witness, Alice Reicin, was the author of the study. The jurors were not aware of the New England Journal’s discovery during their deliberations. The presiding judge deemed the case a mistrial because the nine jurors had deliberated for a “reasonable” length of time, and dismissed them after a decision was not made.
Vioxx was taken off the market in fall of 2004 following a study that linked the drug to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes in patients being treated 18 months or more.
For more information about Vioxx, visit our Vioxx Legal Center.