The New Jersey Supreme Court is chewing over a case that will decide whether Merck & Co. must pay a projected $35 million tab for medical monitoring of people who may have suffered “silent heart attacks” from use of its drug Vioxx.

The putative class action suit, Sinclair v. Merck & Co. Inc., A-117-06, was filed on behalf of about 233,000 people who took the painkiller before its recall from the market in 2004 amid revelations of adverse cardiovascular effects. Thousands of individual and class action suits have since been lodged against the Whitehouse Station, N.J., manufacturer.