The NYT has done a review of the testimony to date in the Texas Vioxx trial. The Times concludes that the plaintiff has the upper hand, which one would hope would be true since the defense has not put on its case yet but is still good news for the plaintiff.
The article reviews some of the testimony. For example, consider this excerpt:
Mr. Lanier later asked Dr. Nies [a retired Merck scientist involved in the Vioxx project] about a contract proposal in which Merck had offered to pay researchers at Harvard $200,000 to lead a study that would have directly examined Vioxx’s heart risks. Dr. Nies said the study would have been unethical, which is why the study was ultimately scrapped.
“Before you say it was unethical, look who signed the contract,” Mr. Lanier said, showing Dr. Nies the signature. “It was you.”
A victory in this case will be a real blow to Merck, despite what they may say afterwards. History tells us that the first few trials in any multi-plaintiff product liability action lose.
If Lanier loses this trial, it is not for want of effort or talent.