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Jury Awards Vioxx Victim $47.5 Million

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An Atlantic City jury has awarded an Idaho man $47.5 million, $27.5 million of the total comprised punitive damages in the ongoing litigation against the pharmaceutical giant Merck. The verdict in the case of Frederick “Mike” Humeston, who was granted a second trial in light of new evidence, means Merck has now won nine cases and lost five in the mushrooming litigation over its former blockbuster arthritis pill.

Humeston, 61, of Boise, Idaho, suffered a heart attack in September 2001, several months before Merck – under pressure from federal regulators – put a stronger warning about the cardiovascular risks of Vioxx on the drug’s detailed package insert.