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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — State court jurors sided with drug manufacturer Merck & Co. on Friday and rejected the claims of an Alabama man who blamed the painkiller Vioxx for a heart attack in 2001. Attorneys for Gary Albright had told jurors he should receive as much as $5.75 million in his lawsuit, filed last year. But a jury of eight women and four men rejected Albright’s claims that Vioxx caused his heart attack and that the company failed to reveal potential dangers of the drug before pulling it from the market in 2004. Albright’s attorney, Tim Davis, had asked the jury to make a decision: “Did profits lead over safety?” Merck denied that Vioxx had anything to do with the heart attack Albright suffered in March 2001. It also denied withholding information about potential side effects of the medication, which Albright took for arthritis. Merck attorney Mike Brock said Albright had only a “small heart attack” that didn’t cause lasting damage to his lifestyle. The Talladega County man was at high risk for heart problems because he had diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and was overweight, he said. “One dollar would be too much for either compensatory or punitive damages,” Brock said in closing arguments. Albright filed suit last year, and Merck also contended he waited too long to sue. Merck removed Vioxx from the market in 2004 after its research showed the drug doubled the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Merck has said it faces about 27,200 suits over Vioxx plus another 265 potential class-action suits. Another 14,000 plaintiffs have entered agreements with Merck suspending the time limit for lawsuits. A federal jury in New Orleans this week sided with the company and denied the claims of a Tennessee man who blamed Vioxx for his heart attack. Merck has won four federal cases over Vioxx and lost one. In state courts, the company now has won four and lost three. A judge in one case ordered a retrial after jurors sided with Merck.

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