Corporate Compliance

Cardiologist: Vioxx not responsible for man's death

Compliance Monitor, August 17, 2005

A cardiologist who testified for Vioxx Manufacturer Merck & Co. last week said that the painkiller Vioxx was not responsible for the death of a 59-year-old man who had been taking the drug.

Dr. Craig Pratt, director of research at the Methodist DeBakey Heart Center in Houston, testified that an irregular heart beat brought on by a clogged artery was responsible for the death of Robert Ernst, according to the Associated Press.

Merck pulled Vioxx from the market last year, following a study that found the painkiller increases heart attacks and stokes if taken for 18 months. Ernst's widow Carol claims Merck knew about risks associated with Vioxx long before 2004, but failed to act until much later, the AP reported.

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