Cardiologist Eric Topol's testimony (via videotape) was heard on Wednesday. He is the doctor who criticized Merck & Co. over Vioxx in previous papers and trials. During opening statements, Merck's counsel suggested that dr. Topol had an ax to grind with Merck because it didn't fund his proposal.
A Merck lawyer picked at Topol's testimony that Merck failed to study the cardiovascular risks of Vioxx on patients with heart disease. Topol was asked about a claim that that that he and a colleague at the Cleveland Clinic sought funding from in 2001 to conduct a study on the drug's heart risks.
Dr. Topol testified that Merck failed to study heart risks flagged in several clinical trials before the drug's withdrawal. One study in 2000 found that Vioxx caused five times more heart attacks than another painkiller, naproxen.
The trial should take at least three more weeks.
Sources for this post include attorneys observing the trial, news repors at Yahoo.com and Google.com