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Feb.6 Vioxx Update News Issue # 21


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Dear fellow Vioxx user:

It has been two months since our last update. So much has
happened. One hung jury and another loss. Don't lose hope. We
bring a special article to bring hope.

Merck has spent over $200 million so far on trials. They have
set aside another $685 million for future trials. The only
way to make sure you can compete with them is to get a lawyer
take your case on contingency.

If you do not have a lawyer, it is time to get one and we
now are hooked up with the best. Take a moment or two to
get your case evaluated for free. Just visit:

Your Settlement

We all want this to turn out right for you. Fill this out tonight!


Vioxx Update Editor


NEWS ALERT: If you have not received a portion of the recent
200 million dollar Vioxx lawsuit... read this.

If you have taken Vioxx and have not signed-up with a lawyer
you need to do so NOW. Time is limited and you do not want
to waive your legal right to a settlement.

Do You Have A Case? Fill out this 60 second, no obligation,
free evaluation form and find out. Even if you have filled
out a form in the past, please do so again to get evaluated.
Only 10% of all cases have been evaluated as of October 1st.
Just visit:
Your Settlement


Journal Top Issue In Vioxx Retrial

Top medical journal's criticism of a study cited in Vioxx
lawsuits is expected to play a part in the retrial of the
irst federal Vioxx lawsuit - but it's not clear if it will
be a legal hand grenade or a nuclear warhead.

The disclosure that some negative data was omitted from the
study could make manufacturer Merck & Co. look as if it's
hiding something, legal experts say. That is what attorneys
for Evelyn Irvin Plunkett, whose husband died after taking
the drug for a month, say they can prove in the trial
starting Monday.

The first federal trial - held in Houston in the wake of
Hurricane Katrina - ended with a deadlock. Two jurors said
the split was 8-1 in favor of Merck's contention that taking
Vioxx had nothing to do with the death of Richard
"Dickie" Irvin.

The day those deliberations began, the New England Journal
of Medicine published criticism - one step short of
retracting the study - accusing its authors of withholding
and deleting relevant data.

The information alone is "damaging although not shattering,"
but its implications could be devastating, Northwestern
University law professor Ronald Allen said.

Vioxx was a $2.5 billion-a-year seller when Merck pulled
it from the market in September 2004 because a study found
that taking it for 18 months doubled the risk of heart attacks.

An earlier study known as VIGOR, published by the journal in
2000, is being cited in allegations that Merck held back
information about the risk of heart attacks.

The journal's critique noted that its editors learned that
the authors had deleted information about three additional
heart attacks not reported in the original study, but
reported to the Food and Drug Administration. That would
have changed a section about side effects, showing that
Vioxx patients had five times as many attacks as those on
the pain reliever naproxen, rather than four times as many
and that patients not considered high-risk were having
heart attacks, it said.

"Taken together, these inaccuracies and deletions call into
question the integrity of the data," the journal said.

The editors found a blank table labeled "CV events" – heart
attacks and other cardiovascular side effects - on a first
draft of the VIGOR study found on a computer diskette
after the recall. It was deleted from later versions on the
same disk.

Dr. Gregory Curfman, the journal's executive editor,
confirmed through a spokeswoman that software indicated
that data was deleted from the table two days before the
manuscript was submitted, and identified the deleting
editor as "Merck."

But, he wrote, the Journal's editors didn't realize the
significance of the deletion until Nov. 21, when Curfman
was questioned by Plunkett's attorneys. They produced a
memo showing that at least two authors knew about the heart
attacks at least two weeks before submitting the first of two
revisions and 4 1/2 months before publication.

Until then, the editors wrote, they had believed the authors
didn't know about those heart attacks in time for publication.
Merck says the heart attacks occurred after a reporting

The article didn't mention any such deadline, and the
journal would have expected updates anyway, Curfman wrote
the lead author in an e-mail released by the court.

Merck's attorneys, led by Phil Beck, plan to show that VIGOR
was "done the right way," meeting all scientific standards,
Beck said before the judge imposed a gag order on both

The main focus of Merck's arguments, as in the first trial,
is that Vioxx had nothing to do with Irvin's death. He
already had clogged arteries and a blood clot, they have
said in court and in interviews.

Allen said the editorial's precise impact will depend on
just how significant the data is considered - and that, in
turn, will help decide what use judges allow.

It might simply be folded into the evidence, he said. But
it might also be used as a possible indication that Merck
was hiding something.

"If juries get a whiff of that, it's going to be
devastating," he said.

Howard Erichson, a Seton Hall Law School professor, called
the editorial a stunning development. But, though he called
it "terribly damaging" in a December interview, he now says
it won't dramatically alter the case.

"It was about a few data points, not a fundamental rethinking
of causation," Erichson said. "It's one piece of evidence
that's going to undermine one of the Merck witnesses.

"It's there, it's interesting, but it doesn't fundamentally
change the course of the litigation."

The case being retried starting Monday was the third among
more than 9,600 state and federal lawsuits against Merck.
Two state jury trials ended with a split decision: a $234
million verdict against Merck in Texas, and one clearing it
of blame in New Jersey. Another trial is under way in Texas,
and 10 more are scheduled in state and federal courts over
the next six months.

Merck has set aside $970 million for legal costs, and said
it spent $285 million of that last year. The remaining $685
million should last through 2007, it said Tuesday.


Please forward this to ANYONE you know who has taken Vioxx.
Thank you from the Vioxx Update Staff

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