Judge Fallon informed the lawyers Court Monday May 23, 2005 that there could ultimately be up to 100,000 cases filed against Merck over Vioxx and that he could hear a case as early as the fall.
So far, there have been more than 2,000 cases filed . Liasion counsel discussed the early battle with Merck over records of thousands of company employees engaged in marketing the drug. Mr. Herman informed that the PSC seeks details on Merck employees who marketed the drug.
A lawyer for Merck said in open court that it would be "tremendously burdensome" to provide the information. Mr. Herman countered that Merck's sales representatives were told to dodge potentially awkward questions.
The issue of FDA non compliance was a part of the hearing. Plaintiffs' counsel has been seeking to obtain information from the Food and Drug Administration . Last month, Judge Fallon was told that the FDA has not been forthcoming with requested information. Meetings between lawyers for both sides and FDA officials are set for this week with additional meetings scheduled for next month.
The next hearing is June 27, 2005 in New Orleans.