Last Updated Jul 4, 2009 6:49 PM EDT
But there's reason to believe that J&J's lawyers may have pumped their fists in the air upon hearing of the decision.
First, let's acknowledge that the Levaquin cases -- which claim Levaquin caused Achilles' tendon ruptures and tendonitis -- are completely different from the Vioxx cases. Putting that aside, now ask whether the Vioxx outcome was really all that bad for Merck. It wasn't. Merck had faced $20 billion in potential Vioxx liability, but:
Of the 20 cases tried ... 15 ended in defense verdicts or hung juries. Merck's success in the courtroom was a stick that it used in negotiations with the plaintiffs.J&J may look at that result -- a settlement coming in at about 25 percent of the worst-case scenario -- as a promising start.