Did you ever wonder what it costs to prosecute and defend drug product cases, such as those involving Vioxx? Well, for a glimpse into an arena where the tickets are really steep, read this post from Products Liability Prof Blog.
Merck & Co. has been ordered to release records of how much it spent on a trial involving its Vioxx painkiller. New Jersey Superior Court Judge Carol Higbee made the order in response to a request from plaintiffs’ lawyers that Merck pay their legal fees and expenses of about $5.6 million for a trial that combined two cases in which the plaintiffs alleged that taking Vioxx had caused their heart attacks. When Merck balked at the plaintiffs’ trial expenses, the plaintiffs’ lawyers asked how much Merck spent on the trial.
The jury found that Vioxx had caused one man’s heart attack but not the other’s. The jury also found that Merck had committed consumer fraud in its marketing of Vioxx, a finding that allows for recovery by plaintiffs of their attorneys’ fees. So far, Merck has reserved $970 million for legal costs and spent $285 million of that last year as it pursues its pledge to try each Vioxx case.