Merck said it will "defend itself vigorously" in the second trial over the painkiller Vioxx, which is set to open this week in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Former US Marine Frederick Humeston claims Vioxx led to his heart attack two years ago. The drug maker is expected to argue that Humeston had multiple cardiac risk factors. In a sign that management is taking the situation very seriously, Merck announced a last minute addition to its defense team, adding attorney Philip Beck, the lawyer who represented the Bush campaign in the legal battle at the end of the 2000 election. Beck's resume also includes the successful defense of Bayer in a 2003 lawsuit over its cholesterol drug Baycol.
- see this story from the Los Angeles Times