[JURIST] Merck [corporate website] is considering settling some of the thousands of state and federal lawsuits [JURIST report] it faces for the distribution of its painkiller Vioxx [JURIST news archive], a spokesman for the company's legal team said Friday. This latest statement follows last week's $253 million Texas jury verdict [JURIST report] in the first Vioxx personal injury lawsuit to go to trial. The painkiller was recalled last fall after clinical tests showed that patients who use the drug for more than 18 months faced increased risk of stroke and heart attack [FDA public health advisory]. In an interview [text] published in Friday's New York Times, Merck's general counsel Kenneth Frazier said that the company would consider settling suits brought by people who took Vioxx for extended periods of time and had few other risk factors for heart disease. AP has more.