Another stab at Walgreen's and Merck & Co. came in the form of two new lawsuits seeking more than $1 million from customers who blame the retailer and pharmaceutical for their heart ailments.

Dick Donohoo and Helen Wood of East Alton filed separate 11-count suits in Madison County Circuit Court Feb. 4, claiming their use of the arthritis pain reliever Vioxx caused them to suffer heart damage. Merck pulled the drug from the market more than four months ago and ever since, the pharmaceutical has been the target of hundreds of lawsuits across the country.

Represented by Jeffrey J. Lowe of St. Louis, each seek more than $550,000 from Merck and Walgreen's for personal injuries and economic damages.

Against Merck, the lawsuits claim defective and negligent design, failure to provide risk warnings, deceptive trade practices, misrepresentation, fraudulent omission and common law fraud.

Walgreen's, according to the plaintiffs, was negligent in that it sold a defective product and was in breach of warranty.

According to Donohoo's suit, he claims he suffered a heart attack and stroke at age 67. "His heart attack and stroke were caused or significantly contributed to be caused by Vioxx." He states the Vioxx was purchased from a Madison County Walgreen's.

Wood claims she had to have stents placed for heart problems "caused or significantly contributed to be caused by Vioxx," according to the suit. She claims to have purchased Vioxx from a Bethalto Walgreen's.

Donohoo's suit has been assigned to Circuit Court Judge Phillip Kardis. Wood's suit has been asssigned to Circuit Court Judge George Moran.

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