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New Vioxx trial to start in Texas

[JURIST] Jury selection is slated to begin Tuesday in Rio Grande City, Texas, in the latest wrongful death case involving the painkiller Vioxx [Merck Vioxx Information Center website; JURIST news archive]. The family of Leonel Garza is suing Merck Pharmaceutical Company [corporate website] after he suffered a fatal heart attack in 2001, one month after he discontinued using Vioxx. Outside council for Merck claims that Garza had a previous history of heart disease and that there is "no reliable scientific evidence" connecting the drug with his death. This is the fourth lawsuit to link the painkiller with heart attacks, and is one of approximately 10,000 suits filed against Merck since Vioxx was withdrawn in September, 2004. Studies have suggested that those who use Vioxx for longer than 18 months face an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. Merck lost the first Vioxx case [JURIST report] tried in Texas state court in August, but in November won a case [JURIST report] in New Jersey state court. The first federal Vioxx trial resulted in a mistrial [JURIST report] in Houston in December. CNNmoney.com has more.

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