Thursday, January 19, 2006

NE Journal of Medicine Authors to be deposed in Vioxx litigation

Two editors of the New England Journal of Medicine will give deposition testimony week by the company's lawyers. The depositions will be held next Tuesday and Wednesday.

After the NEJM's editorial was reported the attorneys for Merck subpoenaed multiple NEJM editors and sought information on its peer reviewers. The editors subpoenaed include editor in chief Dr. Jeffrey M. Drazen and executive editor Dr. Gregory D. Curfman.

Judge Eldon Fallon of New Orleans of the MDL this week ruled that Merck can depose Curfman but not Drazen. Merkc asked for additonal information but Fallon said no - Merck's sought to get information on the identities of many of the journal's peer reviewers.

My comment: The testimony won't help Merck, and while it helps for Merck to assess how damagaing it may be should any of the information reach a jury, the PR damage that will be wrought will be signficicant for the days after the deposition transcripts are released.