A lawyer representing a number of people suing Merck (MRK) described the verdict returned Friday against the company in a Texas case as “a very important day for the victims of Vioxx.”

Andy Birchfield made the comments in an interview with MSNBC.

Birchfield represents the plaintiffs in the first federal trial over Merck’s withdrawn painkiller slated to begin Nov. 28 in New Orleans. The case concerns whether the drug caused the fatal heart attack of a 53-year-old Florida man.

In the interview, Birchfield said the Texas case is important for other victims because it “says we can go in an prove that Vioxx caused these injuries.”

He said the New Orleans case is much stronger because unlike the Texas case a blood clot was found in the autopsy.

Merck withdrew Vioxx from the market in September after a study concluded it doubled patients’ risk of heart attacks and strokes. Since then, thousands of lawsuits have been filed against the company.

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