Merck & Co. should have told doctors and consumers “the good, the bad and the ugly” about Vioxx long before pulling it from the market last year, a plaintiff’s attorney said Wednesday in closing arguments in the nation’s first civil trial involving the once-popular painkiller.
Mark Lanier, who represents the widow of a Texas man who died in 2001, accused the New Jersey pharmaceutical company of practicing denial and deception for the last decade, minimizing safety concerns about Vioxx to reap billions in annual profits.
“We have a right to know,” Lanier said of any potentially lethal side effects. “They ought to tell us the good, the bad and the ugly.”
Merck lawyer Gerry Lowry urged jurors to consider what would happen to the 100-year-old company if it knowingly created deadly drugs.
“Would that be good business? Would that make sense?” she asked.
Merck lawyers were to present closing arguments to the seven-man, five-woman panel later Wednesday. The jury will then decide the outcome of the first case to go to trial among more than 4,200 state and federal lawsuits.