A Florida jury recently returned a verdict in favor of Merck & Co. in the first Vioxx case to go to trial in the state. Kozic v. Merck & Co, Inc., No. 03-CA-009248 (Fla. Cir. Ct. Oct. 8, 2007).

In so holding, the jury apparently rejected the plaintiff’s theory that his use of Vioxx for nine weeks caused him to suffer a heart attack in April 2001 at age 50. According to its press release, Merck had presented evidence at trial that the plaintiff had previously suffered from “significant atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease in the vessels that supply blood to the heart, including the vessel where the heart attack actually occurred,” and that high cholesterol and “other risk factors” had “contributed to the progression of his disease over a long period of time.”

The verdict reportedly marks the 11th time nationwide that a jury has found in favor of Merck in a Vioxx trial (though one of those verdicts was set aside by a federal court), versus five plaintiff verdicts. In addition, two Vioxx trials have resulted in mistrials. Some 27,000 lawsuits still remain outstanding against the New Jersey-based pharmaceutical company by plaintiffs claiming to have been harmed by their use of Vioxx.