Merck gets hurt on causation.

As previously commented on here, the big issue in the Vioxx trial isn't going to be marketing deception, cover up or any of the other cracks in the armor that Attorney Lanier pounds at, but instead it's going to hinge on causation, and yesterday and later again today Merck took a pretty good shot. Today's Wall Street Journal has an excellent summary of the medical examiners testimony on cause of death.

The testimony allowed a hurdle in the causation argument to be cleared as it was laid out to the jury that an arrhythmia could have been caused by a clot or heart attack. This was a big one for Mark Lanier and while I don't know how the examiner held up under cross, it's the first in what are sure to be several experts who will testify that Mr. Ernsts death could have been plausibly linked to the Vioxx he took for several months prior to his passing away.

Posted on July 28, 2005 .