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Vioxx pretrial proceedings assigned to Louisiana federal court

[JURIST] The federal Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation [official website] Wednesday assigned all pending Vioxx product liability lawsuits [JPML transfer order, PDF] to Judge Eldon Fallon of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana [official website] in New Orleans. Judge Fallon will coordinate discovery and other pretrial proceedings in federal lawsuits that allege that Vioxx manufacturer Merck [corporate website] knew the painkiller increased the risk of heart attacks and strokes. In a statement announcing the suits' consolidated status [text], Merck says that it "acted responsibly every step of the way" and that it will "vigorously defend itself." AP has more.

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