Slowly but surely Merck is working its way off the Vioxx hook. First, the successful fight-em-one-by-one strategy, then the big settlement, then a few key overturned verdicts--and now, the New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled that the drugmaker doesn't have to monitor Vioxx patients for future health problems. The 5-1 decision nullifies a class action lawsuit, filed by Vioxx users who don't have symptoms but wanted to be tested for any hidden problems.
The ruling states that patients can't pursue claims for medical monitoring unless they show "harm." Because these plaintiffs had no injuries to report, no harm done--in a legal sense, anyway.