The jury in the first Vioxx trial has found Merck liable for the death of the patient by arrhythmia. Merck had to fight this one as it didn’t even seem to be the kind of heart disease that those people who did get heart disease in the VIGOR and other studies died from. But they lost, and the jury awarded $253.4m. Where they got the .4 from I’m not sure, but that’s a hell of a lot of punitive damages. Guess that "Dodgeball" memo was pretty expensive in the end.
So if you play out the math there are an alleged 56,000 deaths from Vioxx. So if every 4 death’s costs Merck $1 billion, then they owe some 14 trillion dollars. That somewhat exceeds the gross national income of the country, so perhaps this amount might be reduced on appeal!
But either way the recovery that Merck stock’s had since Vioxx was pulled last year is absolutely over for now. And it’ll probably be headed lower than today’s close (as usual wish that I’d bought some put options as they were expiring today!)