In the ninth trial of its kind, a federal jury ordered drug manufacturer Vioxx to pay $51 million to Gerald Barnett, who had a heart attack after taking Vioxx for over four years.
The jury determined that Vioxx was responsible for the heart attack of the 62-year-old former federal agent. Mr. Barnett was awarded $50 million in compensation damages and $1 million in punitive damages. This was the first time a jury found for a patient who was not seriously debilitated or killed from taking Vioxx.
Vioxx was pulled from off pharmacy shelves almost two years ago after information linked the prescription pain reliever to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Merck has 14,200 Vioxx lawsuits due to people who claim the drug caused serious injury. Eight more trials are scheduled in state and federal court through the end of 2006.