For immediate release
Merck accused of violating protective order pertaining to first Vioxx case.
Montgomery, Alabama (April 25, 2005) – A motion was filed today for sanctions against Merck for violating a protective order and disclosing personal and confidential information to the news media related to Cheryl Rogers and her deceased husband, Howard. Mrs. Rogers is the plaintiff in the first Vioxx lawsuit scheduled to go to trial on May 23.
According to attorney Jere Beasley, whose firm Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles in Montgomery, Alabama, represents Ms. Rogers: “Merck provided depositions of Mrs. Rogers and Dr. William Clancy, who treated her husband, to local and national press on April 12, in violation of the court’s protective order. In fact, one reporter had the documents on this date apparently before it was even filed in court.”
In addition, the motion cites Merck being in violation of the provisions of HIPAA by disclosing personal medical information pertaining to Howard Brad Rogers.
That day, Merck had filed a motion to dismiss the Rogers case in the Circuit Court of Clay County in Ashland, Alabama, and at the same time sought to discredit Mrs. Rogers by circulating proprietary information concerning the case.
Mr. Beasley’s motion on behalf of Mrs. Rogers’ requests that the court vacate its protective order as it relates to documents produced by Merck. He is asking the court to allow for public disclosure by plaintiffs’ attorneys of all Merck documents.
During the Advantage trial (completed in 2000), eight people taking Vioxx suffered heart attacks or sudden cardiac death, compared with just one taking naproxen, according to data released by the F.D.A. earlier this year. The difference was statistically significant, but Merck never disclosed the data that way. In fact, according to previously undisclosed Merck records, including email messages between top Merck officials, it appears that Merck went out of its way to hide these facts. In 2000, amid rising concerns that its painkiller Vioxx posed heart risks, Merck overruled one of its own scientists after he suggested that a patient in a clinical trial had probably died of a heart attack. “Merck intentionally misled the public and the medical community by withholding information relating to known dangers associated with taking Vioxx,” Beasley says.
“Releasing Merck’s documents would serve the public interest by exposing its wrongful conduct over the years.” Beasley adds. “Clinical tests have proven Vioxx is and was a dangerous drug. It has killed literally thousands of unsuspecting victims who trusted the company and who had no idea that Vioxx caused heart attacks and strokes.”
Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C. has been in the forefront of the effort to have all of the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors (Bextra, Celebrex and Vioxx) taken off the market since the law firm took on its first case against Merck more than four years ago. Beasley Allen is spearheading the review of over 31,000 claims against the manufacturers of Bextra, Celebrex, and Vioxx, having filed 161 cases to date.
About Beasley Allen
Headquartered in Montgomery, Alabama, Beasley Allen is comprised of over 45 attorneys and 200 support staff. Beasley Allen is a national leader in civil litigation, having settled verdicts and settlements amounting to nearly $15 billion.