Thursday, March 23, 2006

Vioxx Trial Update: 3/23/06 - Merck's turn; Jury Question

Merck served up the first witness in defense of the pending action. Dr. Briggs Morrison is a VP at Merck Labs.

During cross, Mark Lanier said Merck's Vioxx drug application consisted of enough documents to fill more than 120 boxes, suggesting that Merck purposely data that showed Vioxx made users more susceptible to heart attacks.

Lanier asked the doctor if he thought that the FDA was able to zone in on one paper out of 127 boxes.

Lanier also introduced an internal review document through Morrison that was a response to a 2001 paper summarizing clinical study data on cardiovascular risk. Merck's memo concluded there was no evidence Vioxx caused heart attacks. Dr. Morrison testified that it was wishful thinking to conclude that, and that he felt the paper interpreted the data to support a preconceived notion.

When asked if that paper was given to the FDA, Morrison said no, that it was an internal review never shared with FDA.

Juror asks a question:

During his testimony, a juror posed a question. Dr. Morrison told the jury that during the time he worked on the Vioxx development team at Merck, the company did not do a clinical study specifically aimed at determining whether Vioxx caused heart attacks.

Should that question worry Merck? How about the answer?

Sources for this post include attorneys in the courtroom, news reports on sites including google news, AP, and Reuters.