A United States District Court today refused to grant the Food and Drug Administration’s request to delay the turnover of Vioxx related documents. In today’s ruling, Judge Faith Hochberg directed that a court appointed mediator become involved in the process of deciding what documents can be turned over the plaintiff, attorney Eric Weinberg. Weinberg, who is involved in the New Jersey Vioxx litigation, said: “this is an important victory because some of the documents will show Merck’s relationships with the FDA”. Weinberg filed about 10 separate requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The FDA had been delaying the turnover of the requested documents. Some of the documents will shed light on what role Dr. Honig, a former FDA employee hired away by Merck, had in the Vioxx label change of 2002. The FDA wanted a warning on the label but did not get it. Vioxx, a painkiller, was withdrawn from world-wide markets on September 30, 2004 by Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MRK). It has been estimated that Vioxx was a cause of approximately 80,000 to 130,000 heart attacks and strokes.
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