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Saturday, October 08, 2005

Merck misleads again - this time it's Vioxx

See a few prior news reports about controversial drug giant Merck:

'91 Memo Warned of Mercury in Shots
Merck Misled on Vaccines, Some Say


Key Merck Vioxx testimony thrown out by judge

By Greg Groeller
Last Update: 5:07 PM ET Oct. 7, 2005

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (MarketWatch) -- A trial involving Merck & Co's (MRK) Vioxx drug descended into chaos on Friday morning as the judge and a key Merck lawyer engaged in a dramatic shouting match over a controversial ruling.

Superior Court Judge Carol Higbee ruled to strike the entire testimony of Dr. Briggs Morrison, a Merck scientist and Merck's first witness in a trial involving its former painkiller.

Merck lawyer Diane Sullivan's hands flailed as she loudly objected to the ruling, yelling as the judge told her repeatedly to sit down.

"Sit down now or I will have you taken out of the courtroom!" Higbee said.

Higbee ruled that Morrison's testimony on Thursday would be stricken from the record and that Morrison would not be allowed to testify again.

The judge said that Merck misled her and the jury by representing Morrison as an expert on several animal studies done on Vioxx in the late 1990s. Morrison, who was a key researcher for Vioxx, admitted Thursday that he had not seen the data from the animal studies until right before the trial began.

"I felt sick yesterday afternoon and yesterday night," Higbee said. "I realized how I got sucked into this."

Outside the courtroom, Ted Mayer, a Merck lawyer, said the company was considering whether to seek a mistrial or file an emergency appeal.

"We think keeping this testimony out really strikes at the fundamental fairness of the proceedings," Mayer said.

-Contact: 201-938-5400

Posted by Becca

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