Merck & Co has received another boost in its long-running Vioxx court cases saga with the news that a plaintiff in a lawsuit scheduled to go to trial in a Pennsylvania state court next month has dropped the suit.

The drugmaker noted that the lawsuit, in which the plaintiff Angela McCool alleges that the painkiller Vioxx (rofecoxib) caused her husband's heart attack and death, was voluntarily dismissed “with prejudice," meaning it cannot be filed again.

Merck faces more than 27,000 lawsuits over the COX-2 inhibitor and a separate Vioxx lawsuit is scheduled to go to trial in New Jersey this week. As of September 30, claims related to more than 3,000 alleged Vioxx users have gone by the wayside before being scheduled for trial, including more than 1,100 dismissed with prejudice, the company noted.