Merck Ordered to Pay for Death Caused by Vioxx

Merck & Co. was found negligent in the death of a 59 year old triathlete who used Vioxx. The jury awarded the man’s widow $24 million in actual damages and $229 million in “exemplary” or punitive damages for a total of approximately $253 million. A jury of seven men and five women ruled 10 to 2 against Merck on each of three key questions. They found Merck failed to warn doctors of Vioxx’s danger, that the drug was improperly designed, and that Merck’s negligence caused Robert Ernst’s death. Merck plans to appeal.