That’s right. That is exactly how much compensation is being sought by the family of a deceased Vioxx victim, who died within weeks of taking the painkiller. Merck, however, has not made any provisions at all for compensations of this magnitude though financial experts estimate its liabilities to run into tens of billions of dollars.
A jury of ten men and two women is going to decide if Merck hid the risks of the drug and if the drug caused the fatal heart attack of Leonel Garza. Since he did not take the drug for 18 months, Vioxx was not responsible, Merck’s attorneys are arguing. However, Merck’s credibility at this point is at its lowest level after it was learned that it repeatedly hid risks of the drug and tried to downplay the dangers of taking the painkiller even occasionally.
In the first trial in Texas, Carol Ernst the widow of another victim Robert Ernst, was awarded a quarter billion dollars (though the actual amount will be smaller), and the federal trial is expected to resume next month after a mistrial. Merck won the lawsuit filed by Frederick “Mike” Humeston – the only alive person to sue the company. As many as 60,000 Americans have died after taking the arthritis medication.
The trial is expected to run through the end of March. Merck is facing almost 10,000 personal injury lawsuits at this time.
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