Vioxx Manufacturer Suffers Setback in Trial

Yesterday, jurors heard videotaped testimony from the pathologist who said that the death Robert Ernst, a 59 year old triathlete taking the painkiller Vioxx was more than likely caused by a heart attack, damaging Merck’s defense in the first Vioxx trial nationwide. The videotaped testimony was shown almost immediately after the Texas Supreme Court denied Merck’s attempt to stop jurors from hearing it. The testimony is crucial because Merck has acknowledged a link between Vioxx and heart attacks and strokes, but has maintained that there is no such link between Vioxx and arrhythimias. The pathologist’s testimony gives a big boost to one of the plaintiff’s biggest challenges, which was making a link between Vioxx and arrhythmia. After a Merck lawyer asked the pathologist whether she was changing her story in the autopsy report, Dr. Araneta replied, “I’m not changing my opinion, I’m just explaining it further. That’s the autopsy report, but it’s not the end of the story.”
Apparently not, although Merck would like it to be.