Merck’s defense that Vioxx caused cardiac problems only in people who used the pain reliever for 18 months or longer didn’t hold up in their most recent lawsuit. A Texas jury found Merck liable for the fatal heart attack of a man who took Vioxx for less than one month.
The widow and children of Leonel Garza were awarded $7 million in compensatory damages and $25 million in punitive damages for his death. Mr. Garza had a history of smoking, suffered a prior heart attack in 1981 and had quadruple bypass surgery in 1985. These cardiovascular risk factors were brought up in the trial, but a stress test shortly before his heart attack showed that he was in good health. Records showed that Mr. Garza took Vioxx for only one week.
For more information about Vioxx, visit our Vioxx Legal Center.