A jury has found pharmaceutical giant Merck liable for the death of a Texas man who took the painkiller Vioxx.
Jurors in Angleton, Texas awarded the widow of Robert Ernst more
than one-quarter of a billion dollars in damages. Merck plans to appeal.
Jurors rejected Merck's argument that Ernst died of clogged arteries -- rather than a Vioxx-induced heart attack that led to his fatal arrhythmia.
The decision came during the second day of deliberations in the first Vioxx civil case against Merck to go to trial. The case has drawn national attention from pharmaceutical companies, lawyers, consumers and stock analysts.
Merck has vowed to fight the more than 4,200 state and federal Vioxx-related lawsuits pending across the country.