National law firm Irwin Mitchell which represents over 100 victims of the drug Vioxx have today said they are not surprised by the decision of a US judge who has declared a mistrial in the first federal lawsuit against drugs giant Merck. Judge Eldon Fallon, presiding over the first federal Vioxx case against the drug's maker Merck, declared the mistrial early this morning after a jury could not reach a decision after 18 hours deliberation.
A recent report in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) questioned the integrity of a study published in the NEJM on 23 November 2000, saying that it contained 'inaccuracies in data'. The Journal said it had determined that Merck deleted data about heart attacks among Vioxx users and other relevant data, prior to submitting its analysis from the so-called VIGOR trial in 2000.
Commenting on the court's decision Sallie Booth, Partner at Irwin Mitchell who is representing UK claimants who are taking Merck to court in the United States said "The uncertainty for our clients unfortunately is continuing. However the inability of the jury in this case to reach a unanimous decision is clearly indicative that there remain important questions to be answered by Merck including, what they knew about the health effects of Vioxx, when they knew it and what they did about it."
"When Vioxx was withdrawn in September 2004 there were suggestions that Merck may have known as early as 1999 that there were cardio-vascular risks associated with the drug. The recent revelations in the New England Journal of Medicine lead us to believe that there may be more to this case which supports our clients claim"