Processing Magazine

Court hearing Vioxx case evacuated in alert

March 23, 2006

A courthouse in Atlantic City where a case is being heard against drug company Merck & Co. over pain-relieving drug Vioxx was evacuated March 22 after a suspicious device was found, Reuters reports. Clarence Dickerson, operations officer at Atlantic County Court House, said a device the size of a cigar box had been found in the sheriff''s department on the first floor of the courthouse. He described the package as having "wires on it and nails wrapped around it." The latest hearing in the Vioxx trial had been due to start on the third floor of the courthouse at 9 a.m. By around 8.30 a.m., some 50 people were being kept at a distance of around 100 yards from the building in Atlantic City near the city''s famous casinos. Almost 10,000 plaintiffs have sued Merck over Vioxx, claiming the company knew the drug increased the risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular events, but failed to adequately warn users of its dangers. About half of the cases have been filed in Merck''s home state of New Jersey.