Monday, October 08, 2007

Merck cleared in Florida Vioxx trial

TAMPA, Florida (Reuters) - A Florida jury on Friday found Merck & Co's withdrawn painkiller Vioxx did not cause a former professional soccer player's heart attack and that the company did not conceal safety risks associated with the medicine.

After a three-week trial in the Circuit Court of Hillsborough County, the six-member jury took just two hours to hand Merck a victory on all counts.

The jury also found that Merck was not negligent and did not fail to provide adequate warnings about Vioxx heart risks.

The plaintiff, 56-year-old Refic Kozic, blamed Vioxx for his 2001 heart attack at the age of 50. He had used the drug for nine weeks for knee pain.

"We believe the evidence showed that Merck acted responsibly and that Vioxx was not the cause of Mr. Kozic's heart attack," said Mike Brock, one of Merck's attorneys.