Merck owes its victory in a recently concluded Vioxx trial in New Jersey largely to the testimony of J. Michael Gaziano, a Harvard cardiologist who expressed his doubts that Vioxx, and not stress, triggered the 2001 heart attack in Frederick "Mike" Humeston, who argued otherwise. It turns out that Gaziano's brother, Todd, a prominent constitutional law scholar at the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank in Washington, DC, has also sat on the defendant's side of a civil courtroom.

Todd Gaziano, a specialist in the judiciary, has done some thinking in the past on tobacco litigation and tort reform ? the latter subject bearing on the Vioxx lawsuits, although he hasn't written specifically on Vioxx. Michael Gaziano had opined in a previous case that he did not see a link between ephedra and heart problems, a view at odds with the Food and Drug Administration, and he said the same about...

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