A doctor told jurors yesterday in the nation’s first Vioxx-related civil trial that he believes the drug contributed to the death of a Texas man, 59, who had an arrhythmia linked to a heart attack in 2001.

“His taking of Vioxx caused and/or contributed to his heart attack,” Dr. David Egilman said in a direct challenge to Vioxx maker Merck & Co.’s assertion that it has no relation to irregular heartbeats.

Carol Ernst, the widow of Robert Ernst, is the plaintiff in the first of more than 4,200 state and federal lawsuits across the country to go before a jury.

Egilman, a public health professor at Brown University, also testified that he resisted prescribing Vioxx at his former family practice clinic in Braintree, Mass., because he disputed Merck’s assertion that the painkiller was safe years before the drug was pulled.

Merck voluntarily took Vioxx off the market in September when a study showed it could double heart attack or stroke risk if taken for 18 months or longer, but the firm argues heart attack and arrhythmia aren’t interchangeable.

We're here to help!

We live by our creed of “helping those who need it most” and have helped thousands of clients get the justice they desperately needed and deserved. If you feel you have a case or just have questions please contact us for a free consultation. There is no risk and no fees unless we win for you.

Fields marked * may be required for submission.

Respectful, understanding, efficient and compassionate

Beasley Allen is one of the most professional organizations I have ever had the pleasure of working with. They are respectful, understanding, efficient, and above all compassionate. They take the best care of their clients in every way possible. They keep us informed and aware of things involved in their clients cases. Their counsel is stellar in the industry. I would highly recommend them to others in their time of need and I have done so.