Judge Higbee "selected the next seven cases to go to trial, all of which involve plaintiffs who took the drug for 18 months or more, lawyers said.
"The first case will be heard in Atlantic City beginning Jan. 30, 2006, followed by another on March 27, according to lawyers who attended a closed-door meeting with the judge.
"A further meeting has been set for Nov. 28, when the judge is expected to say which of the seven cases she selected will be heard in January, lawyers said." The number is down from earlier reports of ten to twenty long-term-usage cases. There is some discussion of trying multiple cases in a single trial, a move that Merck will likely oppose.(Reuters/CNN, "Long-use Vioxx cases chosen for trial", Nov. 17).