Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A Vioxx victory in a bad forum

Merck won a jury trial in one of the worst venues in the US for a corporate defendant: Madison County, Illinois (just outside St. Louis, Mo.). And it should have -- basically this case is one where if the plaintiff (the decedent's widower) had won, any person could win against Merck.

The former Vioxx user died when she was 52; she weighed between 250-300 pounds (that's between 17.12 and 21.6 stone for the Anglosphere readers, and 113.6 to 136.4 kg for metric users); she stood five-foot-two (1.58m); she did not exercise, she had diabetes and had high blood pressure. In other words, her death from a heart attack was sad, but not particularly surprising.

So the contribution of Vioxx to the decedent's death would have been minimal at most. Merck now has won 10 of the 15 Vioxx trials, with one fat verdict against it on appeal.

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