A German court has rejected two claims over U.S. drug maker Merck & Co.’s withdrawn painkiller Vioxx, including one seeking $100,000 (80,000 euros) in damages.
A civil court in Berlin said it dismissed both claims against the German distributor of the once-blockbuster drug. A woman who filed a suit seeking at least 80,000 euros in damages failed to show that the drug could have caused an illness she was suffering from, a court statement said. It said the woman had failed to respond adequately to a suggestion from the distributor that a chronic illness could have caused her symptoms. In the second case, the court rejected a man’s claim against the company. It said he too failed to demonstrate a connection between taking the drug and his symptoms. “Expressing a vague suspicion is not enough,” the court said. It didn’t identify either the German distributor or the two claimants, both of whom can still appeal. Vioxx was prescribed to millions of patients around the world before Merck pulled it from the market on Sept. 30, 2004, after studies indicated it increased the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Merck, based in Whitehouse Station, N.J., has already won a string of court cases in the United States, where more than 21,000 suits have been filed. Class action suits could cost the company billions if it loses. Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.