A plaintiff in Texas dropped her Vioxx lawsuit against
just two weeks before a trial was scheduled to begin.
Merck said Tuesday that the case was the fourth set for trial in Texas to be dismissed before it got under way.
In this instance, Sharon Rigby alleged that Vioxx caused her heart attack. Merck was prepared to argue that Rigby was a smoker with a family history of heart disease and a number of other risk factors, and that she has a pending claim against another pharmaceutical company alleging heart injuries.
"We believe the evidence was strong in this case and Merck was prepared to go forward with the trial," said Ted Mayer of Hughes Hubbard & Reed, Merck's outside defense firm.
The claims of more than 3,000 plaintiff groups have been dismissed to date, Merck said. Last week, Merck said in excess of 23,800 personal injury lawsuits have been filed by plaintiffs alleging that Vioxx caused a cardiovascular ailment.
Merck took Vioxx off the market in September 2004 after a study showed that its prolonged use could increase the risk of heart problems.