A federal court jury in New Orleans rejected a claim that pain killer Vioxx caused the 2003 heart attack of Robert Garry Smith who took the drug for approximately four months before his heart attack. Merck has now won two out of three federal Vioxx cases to go to trial.
Merck had argued that Smith, belonging to Kentucky, had multiple risk factors for a heart attack including elevated blood pressure, a family history of cardiac problems, coronary artery disease and he was considered medically obese. Additionally, he shoveled snow, in cold temperatures, for almost an hour on the day of his attack.
Vioxx has already landed the company in over 14,000 court cases. Merck voluntarily withdrew Vioxx from the market after a clinical study showed that 18 months of taking the drug increased the risk of heart attack and stroke.