Monday, July 25, 2005

Vioxx Trial News

I'm not posting daily on the trial because to be candid there is so much that you can find online and in the news papers. Friday however there was to me significant testimony from a Plaintiff's expert.

Dr. David Egilman, a public health professor at Brown University, began testifying Friday as an expert witness for the plaintiff's team. Egilman said Merck sales representatives repeatedly encouraged him to prescribe Vioxx after the drug went on the market in 1999.

Egilman said he resisted those efforts. He said six-month results of a year-long study of Vioxx competitor Celebrex published in 2001 said the drug prevented ulcers, but the unpublished full-year results showed the opposite. Both drugs were developed to relieve pain without causing stomach bleeds, which could be side effects of other pain relievers like aspirin.

"That clued me in that all these drugs may have had problems, so I didn't want to use any of them," Egilman said.

What is interesting from a trial standpoint is that this expert has testified for the Plaintiff's attorney in other cases including asbestos litigation. How will this be seen by a jury? Why couldn't the attorney have find a doctor who was not heavily used in asbestos litigation?