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Last Updated: Friday, 17 February 2006, 23:36 GMT
US drug company wins Vioxx case
Image of Vioxx
Merck is facing thousands of lawsuits related to Vioxx
US drug maker Merck has landed a major court victory after a federal jury cleared the firm of any responsibility for the death of a 53-year-old man.

Richard Irvin suffered a heart attack after taking Merck's once popular painkiller Vioxx for less than a month.

The firm argued that there was never any proven link between Vioxx and the heart attack.

This was the second court victory for Merck over the controversial drug, and the first in a federal court.

In November last year, a jury in New Jersey found Merck had given doctors adequate warning about possible health risks and did not commit consumer fraud in marketing the drug.

Second hearing

In the latest case Merck's lawyers contended that Mr Irvin's age, gender and diet all put him at risk for heart attacks.

It was the second time a jury had heard the case, brought by Mr Irvin's family.

In Houston, where the case was heard in November and December because of damage from Hurricane Katrina, jurors had been unable to reach a verdict.

Merck has faced a mass of Vioxx lawsuits, the drug it withdrew last year after a study found it may double the risk of heart attack or stroke.

In August last year, a Texas state jury found the company liable for the death of a man, and Merck was ordered to pay out $253m (141m).


SEE ALSO:
Vioxx court case ends in mistrial
12 Dec 05 |  Business
Merck cleared in Vioxx drug case
03 Nov 05 |  Business
Merck considers Vioxx settlements
27 Aug 05 |  Business
Thousands may seek Vioxx damages
20 Aug 05 |  Business


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