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Merck Vice President Dennis Erb has defended the company's handling of Vioxx, noting that it promptly released details of studies that first raised the possibility of heart damage and followed up by performing the study that ultimately doomed the drug. "We believed wholeheartedly in the safety of Vioxx and that Vioxx was an important treatment option," he said. "My own father was a regular user of Vioxx until we voluntarily withdrew it from the market."