Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Vioxx: Friday's Verdict News

In the cases jointly tried to conclusion last week, the jury found that that Merck was not negligent in the case of Brian Hermans of Waupaca, Wis., who died at age 44 after a September 2002 heart attack.

The jury did find that Merck violated New Jersey's consumer fraud law, so Hermans' family could recoup three times what he paid for Vioxx prescriptions. It also allows Hermans' family lawyer, Mark Lanier, to recoup his legal fees, which he estimates at $2 million.

In the second case, Mr. Humeston presented his case once more. Today the jury starts phase two, to determine whether the second plaintiff is entitled to damages. The jury found Friday that Merck was negligent in the case of Frederick "Mike" Humeston, 61, of Boise, Idaho, who survived a heart attack in September 2001, before the stronger warning. That case is considered a pre "warning change" case.

Jurors heard evidence about Merck's marketing of Vioxx and what it disclosed about increased risks of heart attack and stroke, which led Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based Merck to pull the blockbuster drug from the market in September 2004.