Vioxx $32 Million Award Overturned

Posted on May 15, 2008

71-year-old Leonel Garza suffered a fatal heart attack in 2001 after a month on the painkiller, Vioxx.  In 2006, his widow was awarded a $32 million judgment by a Texas jury.

As often happens, caps on awards exist in Texas so the judge had to cut the award down from $25 million in punitive to $8.73 million. On Wednesday, an appeals court threw out that award too.

The court said that Mrs. Garza didn’t prove that her husband’s pre-existing conditions didn’t cause his heart attack.  He had a heart condition and had suffered a previous heart attack.

Lawyers for Mrs. Garza are hoping that a higher court will see that Vioxx did not have to be the sole cause of Mr. Garza’s heart attack, as they say the Texas law allows.

Up until this point, Merck had lost five Vioxx cases and won a dozen. Vioxx was pulled from the market in 2004.

Despite this victory Merck & Co. still has a big hill to climb though.

Last November, Merck agreed to pay $4.85 billion to settle about 27,000 lawsuits filed by people or their survivors who said that Vioxx caused heart attacks and strokes.

Every year, thousands of people are seriously injured as a result of using prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications they believed to be safe.

Many drugs on the market today are either insufficiently tested, or contain insufficient warnings to consumers.  Often times drug companies withhold vital information for consumers because it goes against their bottom line.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a prescription drug contact our pharmaceutical litigation attorneys for more information on your legal rights.

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