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The next Vioxx trial, which will begin on March 6, 2006, will be on an entirely new time frame from any other one before it. Manually operated clocks, like those used in a chess game, will be utilized by both sides in order facilitate the pace of the trial. Lawyer’s for the Plaintiffs will have 40 hours to present their case, not including opening and closing statements. Counsel for the Defendant, Merck & Co., will have 35 hours. This novel concept seeks to speed up the daunting legal battle forged against the arthritis drug Vioxx which was pulled off the market in 2004 after alleging causing heart attacks and strokes in it consumers.

According to ABCNews.com:

Vioxx, a pain reliever marketed to arthritis sufferers, hit the market in 2000 and was a $2.5 billion-a-year blockbuster for Merck, quickly becoming a godsend for thousands of people with chronic pain who suffered gastrointestinal side effects while taking other types of pain relievers.

Merck has dug in its heels for the courtroom wrangling over it, setting aside $970 million to defend itself against personal injury suits but no money for settlements.

To date, Merck has won twice and lost once in Vioxx trials. But some see the impending Cona/McDarby case as a bellwether for what lies ahead, since it’s the first involving a patient who used the drug long term.

Read the full Vioxx lawsuit article.

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