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In the first Federal Vioxx trial, a Houston judge was forced to declare a mistrial when the jury decided they would not be able to reach a unanimous verdict. According to abcnews.com, eight jurors decided it was not Merck’s (the maker of Vioxx) fault that Richard Irvin, Jr. died after taking the drug for less than a month to treat his back pain. However, according to the article,

one juror, who requested anonymity, agreed with Irvin’s widow and told the newspaper that plaintiffs’ lawyers “have hard time getting a fair trial” in Houston.

U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon’s office was not immediately available to confirm the jury split.

Lawyers in the case said Judge Fallon has told them they were not to contact the jurors involved in the mistrial.

Merck faces thousands of Vioxx lawsuits from users claiming the company knew about the drug’s link to the risk of heart attack and stroke yet decided to hide that information.

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