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Location: Houston, Texas, United States

My name is David Stone. I live in Houston, Texas. I am a 30-something single white male. I am an Orthodox Christian and am a member of an English-language parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR).

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

New Jersey Vioxx trial next up for Merck

The second Vioxx trial will begin September 12th in Atlantic County, New Jersey. As this article from consumeraffairs.com details:

"More than half the 5,000 personal injury suits against Merck have been filed in New Jersey, where Superior Court Judge Carol Higbee has certified a national class action covering every private third-party payer that allowed members of its health benefits plan to buy Vioxx.
With an estimated 20 million Vioxx users in the United States since 1999, Merck could face a judgment of billions of dollars if it loses the case brought by the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 68 Welfare Fund.

Most Vioxx purchases were made through health plans run by insurance companies and health maintenance organizations and the union's case could therefore encompass millions of consumers who took the popular painkiller that's been linked to increase risk of heart attack and stroke."

This significantly raises the financial liability risk for Merck. The article goes on to relate that:

"...the New Jersey case is even more fraught with peril. Unlike the thousands of individual personal injury cases, Local 68 lawyers don't have to prove that anyone suffered injury. Under state law, all they need to show is that the third-party payers were influenced by unconscionable Merck business practices, such as deceptive marketing and promotion of Vioxx.

If the engineers' union wins, all third-party payers nationwide can recoup payments to the company, and under the New Jersey law they would be entitled to collect treble damages as well as attorney fees, easily running up a total of $10 billion or more."


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