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Friday, November 24, 2006 - Federal Jury Clears Merck in Latest Vioxx Trial: "Federal Jury Clears Merck in Latest Vioxx Trial
Janet McConnaughey
The Associated Press
November 16, 2006
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Image: Getty ImagesA federal jury in New Orleans has cleared Merck & Co. in the July 2003 heart attack suffered by a Utah bank credit manager who had taken the once-popular painkiller Vioxx for 10 1/2 months.
Charles Laron 'Ron' Mason, 64, of Salt Lake County, Utah, began taking Vioxx after years of taking anti-inflammatory drugs because of back pain.
The case was the 11th to be tried and the fourth in federal court.
Merck won two previous federal cases and lost the third. In state court, it has won three, and lost three. Jurors decided a fourth in Merck's favor, but the judge later ordered a retrial.
Mason had no comment after the verdict was announced. 'We thought we had proved the case. Obviously the jury didn't agree,' said his lawyer, Ed Blizzard, who added that no decision had been made on whether to appeal.
'This is a satisfying verdict for Merck,' Kenneth C. Frazier, executive vice president and general counsel of Merck, said in a prepared statement.
Philip Beck, a Merck lawyer, noted that the plaintiffs' steering committee had chosen Mason's case as one they wanted to try early.
'It's gratifying that we were able to defend against a case that the plaintiffs considered one of their strongest and against top-flight lawyers,' Beck said.
Merck attorneys, in closing arguments Wednesday, said Vioxx had nothing to do with Mason's heart attack because he took the once-popular painkiller for less than a year and stopped taking it four days before the heart attack in July 2003.
Blizzard countered that the drug's effects"

chris's commnet: i think this came down to the jury losing conficence in the plaintiff's theory of the case after he got the prescription wrong. a 4 day gap with a heart attack is clearly supported by the science.


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