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Merck Wins Appeal of First VIOXX(R) Case to go to Trial
Date:5/30/2008

Merck Also Wins Appeals of Major Aspects of New Jersey Cases

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J., May 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Merck & Co., Inc. said today that it is gratified that a Texas appeals court overturned the August 2005 verdict of a state court jury in Brazoria County and rendered a judgment in favor of Merck in the VIOXX product liability case Ernst v. Merck. It was the first VIOXX case to go to trial after the Company voluntarily removed the medicine from the market.

Merck also said today that a New Jersey appellate division has overturned the punitive damage and consumer fraud awards in the 2006 verdict in a two-plaintiff VIOXX trial involving Thomas Cona and John McDarby.

"We are gratified that the Texas appeals court correctly found that VIOXX did not cause Mr. Ernst's death and reversed the previous decision for the plaintiff in the first VIOXX case to go to trial. In addition, the New Jersey court correctly reversed the awards of punitive damage and consumer fraud. Today's decisions overturn almost $40 million of damages and attorneys fees previously awarded to plaintiffs at trial," said Bruce Kuhlik, executive vice president and general counsel of Merck & Co., Inc. "We intend to seek further review of the portion of the award that remains standing after the New Jersey decision. We continue to believe Merck acted responsibly."

Ernst Decision

The Texas Fourteenth Court of Appeals found that VIOXX did not cause the death of Mr. Ernst, reversed the jury's verdict and rendered a judgment in favor of Merck.

Chief Justice Adele Hedges, writing for a unanimous panel, said in the ruling, "we find no evidence that Ernst suffered a thrombotic cardiovascular event, i.e., a myocardial infarction triggered by a blood clot. Accordingly, appellee failed to show that ingestion of VIOXX caused her husband's death."

The jury's original verdict on Aug. 19, 2005 included $24,450,000 in compensatory damages and $229,000
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SOURCE Merck
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