Friday, December 16, 2005

Verdict: Vioxx Merck Mistrial was a business "L"

Is the mistrial in the last Vioxx trial bad news for Merck? Some said no, at least initially. Now though, it looks like from the business side, it's a yes to me.

The mistrial leaves Merck's record at 1-1 in state courts and unresolved in federal court. Merck's own lawyers had described the case as a sure win for Merck because of the short-term use. Of course that did not happen.

Merck IMHO needed another victory to start to put the squeeze on claims numbering at least 6,400. While some have said that said a mistrial was better than an outright defeat, Wall Street has hit Merck.

Merck's stock closed down 72 cents, or about 2.5 percent, to $28.41. That price is more than 36 percent below Merck's pre-recall level Sept. 30, 2004.

What is next? A New Jersey State Court case with a person who took the drug for at least eighteen months - which is the time frame minimum that Merck admits may lead to an increase in an adverse event. The lawyer for the Plaintiff? The team will include Mark Lanier who has recorded the first Vioxx verdict.