“Where we sit is, there is no question according to their own documents, that Vioxx causes heart attack and stroke,” Girardi told jurors. Girardi implored the jury to set an example for other drug companies by returning a verdict in favor of his client. “This case is far greater than Mr. Stewart Grossberg,” Girardi said. “What if one company out there based upon what you do says, `We’d like to think this through. We don’t want to hurt anyone?”‘ The drug maker faces more than 16,000 lawsuits involving Vioxx, which was pulled from the market in 2004 after a study found that it increased the risk of heart attacks. More than 2,000 Vioxx lawsuits filed in California have been consolidated in Los Angeles Superior Court by Judge Victoria G. Chaney. The outcome of the case is expected to serve as a guide for navigating through other California cases involving Vioxx. Grossberg took the stand briefly during the trial, which entered its fifth week Tuesday. “I used Vioxx for a number of years,” Grossberg told jurors, adding he only took the painkiller “as needed,” not every day. He detailed how he took the painkiller during a pain flare-up, suffering a heart attack a few weeks later that he said forced him to take a break from his job as a construction site supervisor. Doctors placed a stent in one of his arteries and he was eventually released from the hospital and put on medication to reduce his lipid levels. Stents are tiny metal scaffolds that prop up arteries to help blood flow. Two years later, Grossberg resumed taking Vioxx, but stopped in late August 2004 after hearing about problems with the painkiller. Three months later, he suffered chest pains and underwent a second stent placement. Medical experts who testified for Merck told jurors Grossberg had pre-existing health factors that led to his heart problems, including a history of heart disease in his family, elevated cholesterol, poor diet and exercise habits and years as a smoker.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! An elderly man who sued Merck & Co. had a long history of heart disease before he took the painkiller Vioxx, the drug he claims caused his heart attack, a lawyer argued Tuesday in closing arguments of a lawsuit against the pharmaceutical company. Merck attorney Tarek Ismail told jurors they should reject the claim that Vioxx caused Stewart Grossberg’s heart attack or accelerated his heart disease. He cited testimony from a pharmacist who reviewed Grossberg’s records that showed he had three prescriptions of 30 Vioxx pills each in the two years before his heart attack in September 2001. Ismail said Grossberg, at most, was a sporadic Vioxx user. “Mr. Grossberg had heart disease for years and that heart disease started years before he had his first Vioxx pill,” Ismail said. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREFrumpy Middle-aged Mom: My realistic 2020 New Year’s resolutions. Some involve doughnuts.The case – the first Vioxx liability lawsuit to go to trial in California – was brought by Grossberg, 71, who began taking Vioxx in 1999 to manage joint pain in his knees, hands and elsewhere caused by osteoarthritis. Grossberg blames his heart attack on Vioxx and is seeking unspecified damages on grounds that the company was negligent and failed to warn users of the drug, among other allegations. Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based Merck & Co. claims Vioxx had no role in Grossberg’s heart ailments. Merck has won four cases and lost three. Another trial began this week in New Orleans. Earlier, Grossberg’s attorney Thomas Girardi argued that Merck knew the drug caused heightened risk of heart ailments but sought to mislead physicians and market Vioxx anyway.