Hermans v. Merck


01/22/07 – 03/12/07

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Pharmaceutical products liability trial against Merck for heart attacks allegedly caused by the painkiller drug Vioxx.

According to the plaintiff, Merck ignored warnings, refused to conduct certain tests, tested around the warnings, and canceled critical investigations. In addition, Merck allegedly misreported test results and put false material in the hands of doctors.

The defense argued that Vioxx was not a substantial cause in Fred Humeston's heart attack, and that Merck did nothing wrong in marketing Vioxx. According to the defense, it wasn't even clear that the plaintiff was using Vioxx at the time of his heart attack, and he had other risk factors for heart attack, such as a sedentary lifestyle and a history of stress and anxiety. Further, a heart attack warning would not have had any effect, the defense said, because Ibuprofen has a heart attack warning, and the plaintiff took Ibuprofen even after having his heart attack.

The jury found for the defendant, awarding $20M in compensatory damages, and $27.5M in punitive damages.


Merk failed to provide adequate warning, misrepresented product, intentionally suppressed/concealed/omitted information
Humeston: Yes
Hermans: No


PM Session
VERDICT (Phase 1)
2 Chapters
AM Session
3 Chapters

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