TX Appeals Court Overturns Vioxx Verdict Against Merck

Via How Appealing, a Texas Court of appeals has reversed the verdict against Merck in the Vioxx case. I found this interesting:

After the trial, a juror admitted borrowing thousands of dollars from [deceased Plainff]Garza's widow, Felicia Garza, although that does not seem to have been a factor in Wednesday's appellate court decision.

The opinion is here.

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    This Decision (none / 0) (#1)
    by The Maven on Wed May 14, 2008 at 03:55:18 PM EST
    seems to be very narrowly tailored and really shouldn't be read to mean that Merck would be completely in the free and clear.  Now, I'm not a lawyer, but it look as though all the appellate court did -- and I'm certainly no fan of Texas state courts -- was to state that plaintiffs had failed to provide sufficient evidence excluding the deceased's prior cardiovascular disease as a plausible cause.  Considering the condition of the deceased (heart attack, quadruple bypass surgery, 71 years old, overweight, high blood pressure and high colesterol, 30 years of smoking), common sense alone would say that there's a high burden to meet to control for all those factors.  Simply pointing out that he hadn't died until shortly after he began taking Vioxx doesn't seem to achieve that evidentiary hurdle.

    However, the statement made by Merck's counsel ("Today's decision reaffirms that there is simply no reliable scientific evidence that Vioxx caused Mr. Garza's heart attack,") isn't supported at all in the decision here.  The court gave no comfort whatsoever to the relative safety of Vioxx and simply didn't address that point.