Merck & Co is reportedly seeking to postpone the first wrongful death trial associated with its withdrawn painkiller, Vioxx (rofecoxib), saying that it won’t receive a fair hearing in light of the Texas attorney general’s announcement late last week that he was also suing the company [[01/07/05c]].
Greg Abbott, the Texas attorney general, is seeking $168 million dollars in damages from Merck, claiming that the company misrepresented the safety of Vioxx and pushed for it to be included on the state’s Medicaid list for approved medicines in spite of knowing the product was linked with serious side effects. Merck pulled Vioxx from the market in late September on the back of safety concerns [[01/10/04a]].
Merck said that the timing of the Texas lawsuit was “hardly a coincidence”, and that it “effectively eliminated” any possibility of a fair trial in the wrongful death case, which is scheduled to begin next Monday, according to an Associated Press article.
The report also claims that Merck fears earlier press reports, which alleged that the company was aiming to reformulate Vioxx over four years before the drug was actually dropped [[24/06/05c]], could also prejudice the case.