April 5, 2006—A New Jersey jury found Merck responsible for the heart
attack of a 77 year-old Vioxx user. The jury awarded John McDarby $4.5 million in compensatory
damages while concluding that Merck failed to adequately warn about cardiovascular risk factors.
This was the first trial involving long-term use of Vioxx.
The jury also awarded $9 million in punitive damages to John McDarby, finding that Merck had
knowingly withheld information from the company. The jury concluded that the company's conduct
was "wanton and willful."
The same jury rejected similar claims brought by a 60 year-old man, concluding Vioxx was not
a factor in his heart attack.
In the first Vioxx lawsuit to reach trial, a Texas jury found Merck responsible for the death
of a 59 year-old man who had been taking Vioxx prior to suffering a heart attack. The jury
returned a multi-million dollar verdict in favor of the man's family.