Dr. Alise Reicin, vice president of clinical research at Merck Research Labs, told the jury that Merck did multiple studies of Vioxx’s possible risks, and determined the medicine caused no more cardiovascular risk than dummy pills or other painkillers.

Reicin’s testimony comes after a Columbus Day holiday and a courtroom meltdown Friday after Superior Court Judge Carol E. Higbee disallowed the testimony given by the Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based drugmaker’s first witness, Dr. Briggs Morrison. When Higbee — with the jury out of the room — ruled Morrison’s testimony would be withdrawn because he was not expert on some Vioxx safety studies, Merck attorney Diane Sullivan argued noisily with the judge.