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Merck & Co., Inc.
McDarby v. Merck (Vioxx Litigation)
Date: 04/11/2006 (Date of Verdict)
Misconduct Type: Health
Enforcement Agency: Non-Governmental
Contracting Party: None
Court Type: Civil
Disposition: Judgment Against Defendant
Synopsis: John McDarby claimed he suffered a heart attack as a result of his use of the prescription pain medication Vioxx, which is manufactured by Merck. (Merck pulled Vioxx from the market in September 2004 after its own research showed the drug increased the risk of heart attack and stroke.) A New Jersey state court jury found in favor of McDarby and awarded $4.5 million in compensatory damages and $9 million in punitive damages plus $1.8 million in costs and attorneys' fees. The jury did not not award any damages to co-plaintiff Thomas Cona, who also blamed Vioxx for his heart attack, although they did find that Merck had committed consumer fraud against him by not publicizing Vioxx's potential risks and assessed $2.4 million in costs and attorneys' fees. On appeal, in May 2008, the Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division reversed all damages, fees and costs except McDarby's compensatory damages award.