Merck On A Roll In Vioxx Appeals
Merck and its aggressive legal team are on a roll, overturning jury verdicts across the country that ruled in favor of patients injured by the arthritis drug, Vioxx.
Last Thursday, the Fourteenth Court of Appeal in Texas overturned a $26 million verdict brought by Carol Ernst. Her husband, Robert died after taking Vioxx in 2001. The three judge panel threw out the conclusions of a jury and the plaintiff’;s expert and ruled there was no evidence that the drug caused the blood clot that killed Ernst.
And the same day, a New Jersey Appellate Court overturned a $9 million punitive damage verdict awarded in 2006, saying that the jury shouldn’;t have been allowed to award punitive damages against Merck, or find the drug maker committed fraud.
In that case the jury’;s $4.5 million for compensatory damages will be allowed to stand.
Why are these appeals courts looking out for the rights of drug makers who are responsible for defective drugs that have killed thousands? And why are verdicts, rendered by juries who spend time listening to the evidence, routinely thrown out by a panel of judges who did not spend day one in the trial?
Merck put Vioxx on the market in 1999 after FDA approval and it became a blockbuster selling about $2.5 billion every year.
That is until the painkiller was pulled off the market in 2004 after Vioxx was linked to thousands of incidents of heart attacks and sudden death. The drug was voluntarily withdrawn in September, 2004.
If you or a loved one has been victimized by taking Vioxx, please contact our pharmaceutical litigation attorneys for more information on your legal rights.
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Still left standing is a $4.85 billion settlement reached by Merck and lawyers representing thousands plaintiffs reached last fall.