Setting up the defense

Safety Sturm und Drang

Setting up the defense

While Merck & Co. Inc. may be tried and convicted by the general media and politicians declaring Vioxx to be a scandal, attorneys who specialize in product liability litigation say that the courts have tended to set high hurdles for finding drug companies liable, while there are some straightforward things companies can do to maximize their chances of winning such cases.

Under product liability law, there are three different types of defects: manufacturing defects, such as bad batches; design defects, where there was a reasonable alternative design available that would have enhanced safety; and warning defects, where not enough was done to warn users of risk.

Liability associated with manufacturing defects tends to be limited because the defects

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