Merck wraps up defense in first Federal Vioxx trial.

Clearly when Judge Fallon said he wanted to run a tight ship and get the Vioxx cases moving he meant it. In less then 8 days of jury selection and trial the defense team for Merck rested their case yesterday after just two days and calling four witnesses.

In what was considered a somewhat surprising move, Merck didn't call a cardiologist to testify as they had in the prior two cases, instead relying on a forensic pathologist to testify that the deceased Mr. Irvin was "skating on thin ice" in that he had significant amounts of artery plaque and that his death was a result of a plaque rupture that wasn't caused by Vioxx. Plaintiffs countered that the autopsy showed only moderate amounts of plaque and that the witness is not an expert in cardiology.

At this pace we can expect Jury instructions possibly by Friday. 

The general consensus from the court watchers and observers I've spoken with is that it's a tough one to call, but that the inclusion of Dr. Topol's video testimony might be enough to carry the day as regards the issue of short usage risk of Vioxx. Time of course will tell.  

Posted on December 8, 2005 .