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Merck denies comprehensive plan to settle Vioxx lawsuits

[JURIST] Pharmaceutical company Merck. [corporate website] said Friday that it has no plans to make a comprehensive deal to settle the thousands of cases against the company concerning side effects of its arthritis drug Vioxx [Merck consumer website; JURIST news archive]. The drug was withdrawn [Merck announcement] from the market last year, after a study [Lancet article] found the drug to increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, leading to an investigation [JURIST report] by the US Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commisison. Merck said it will defend each one of the pending lawsuits [JURIST report] one at a time, and that it had no plan to “enter into any kind of global settlement.” The next Vioxx trial is scheduled to commence in New Jersey on Monday on the basis of a complaint brought by a 60-year old Vietnam War veteran who charges that Vioxx caused his 2001 heart attack. Reuters has more.

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