New evidence emerges in Merck trial

In what appears to be the first major setback for the drug maker in its Texas wrongful death trial, Merck found itself on the defensive (literally) as new evidence appeared to suggest the company intentionally misled doctors about the risks involved with Vioxx. Yesterday, plaintiff attorney W. Mark Lanier produced a copy of a letter sent to thousands of physicians around the country in 2001 which states that the company determined that the risk of "cardiovascular events was 0.4 percent among patients taking Vioxx."

That was not what the company told the FDA. In a separate letter sent to the agency, the company reported a nearly 15 percent increase in cardiovascular events on the basis of the findings of its VIGOR trial. Legal experts said the discrepancy appears to be some of the strongest evidence yet to implicate the drug maker.

- see this story from The New York Times