In what is being described as a major defeat for Merck & Co., a state court jury in New Jersey found that Merck & Co.’s painkiller Vioxx contributed to the heart attack of an Idaho postal worker and awarded a total of $47.5 million in damages. The verdict came at the end of an eight-week trial in Atlantic City. The jury initially awarded Mike Humeston and his wife $20 million in compensatory damages. Mr. Humeston, 61, of Boise, Idaho, suffered a heart attack in September 2001, several months before Merck put a stronger warning about the cardiovascular risks of Vioxx on the drug’s detailed package insert. The decorated veteran had taken Vioxx intermittently for about two months for knee pain from a Vietnam War shrapnel wound.
The jury ruled on March 2nd that Merck was negligent and did not provide adequate warning about those risks prior to Mr. Humeston’s heart attack. The case then went into the second phase to consider whether Vioxx contributed to Mr. Humeston’s heart attack, entitling him to damages. After hearing evidence on that issue, the answer by the jury was unanimously “yes.” The trial then went into the third and final phase to consider the issue of whether to award punitive damages. The jury then found Merck guilty of “willful and reckless” behavior and awarded $27.5 million in punitive damages.
This was another huge win for all Vioxx victims. It’s now quite obvious that Merck has lied to the FDA, the medical community, and the public concerning the dangers and risks associated with taking Vioxx. We had learned early on that Merck has no regard for the truth and would go to great lengths to mislead judges and juries concerning heart attack risks of Vioxx. Merck has dealt misery to hundreds of thousands of people in this country and should have to pay for what it have done.
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.