In a decision announced moments ago, a jury in Angleton, Texas has found Merck guilty of causing the death of Robert Ernst. Her widow, Carol Ernst, had sued the company after he died months after taking the painkiller drug Vioxx.
Ernst’s attorney, Mark Lanier, has asked for damages over $40 million. It is estimated by the FDA that as many as 60,000 Americans may be dead after taking Vioxx for pain relief. An estimated 140,000 Americans have been injured. From over 100,000 plaintiffs who are expected to join the litigation against Merck, it is expected that the total liabilities will be in billions of dollars.
This was the first Vioxx trial in the world and next month another trial is scheduled. The federal trial begins after Thanksgiving.