Merck scores victory in second Vioxx trial

A jury in Atlantic City, NJ, ruled in favor of drug maker Merck in the company's second trial involving the painkiller Vioxx. Jurors deliberated for little more than a day before rejecting former postal worker Frederick "Mike" Humeston's claim that his heart attack was caused by the drug. The jury also flatly rejected Humeston's argument that Merck committed consumer fraud when it marketed the drug to consumers and doctors.

The controversy over Cox-2 painkillers has led to an increased focus on drug safety in Washington and played a major part in triggering a crisis in confidence at the Food and Drug Administration. Since last year, one result has been calls for post-marketing studies on newly approved drugs and increased transparency at companies that manufacture medical devices. The debate over what painkillers can safely be prescribed to patients has left many physicians and healthcare providers uncertain of what the appropriate treatment for patients with chronic pain may be.

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