Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life: Hit 'em where it hurts .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Hit 'em where it hurts

Vioxx jury sends message, awards $253 million in damages

Carol Ernst, the widow of a man whose death was attributed by a jury to the drug Vioxx was awarded $253.45 million in the first of more than 4200 Vioxx-related lawsuits against pharmaceutical behemoth Merck & Co.

Of that amount, $229 million was in punitive damages, and because of caps under state law, it will have to be reduced to $1.65 million, bringing her restitution to just over $26 million. And that will likely be tied in appeals for several years.

"Ha!", you say, "that's a drop in the bucket to a company with $22.5 billion in annual sales". But if a good percentage of the future lawsuits also get favorable verdicts, the millions will add up, and pretty soon you're talkin' real money. Plus the $675 million Merck budgeted for legal services last year, and it all comes off of the bottom line, which cuts into their profits. And that's how you get Big Bidnesses attention. Take their profits, and that makes their Wall Street value go down, which minimizes the value of the stock options of those making the decisions.

That's what it's all about. The people who decided to produce and market Vioxx even though they knew it could be harmful didn't do it to benefit mankind, as they would have you believe. They did it out of greed, pure and simple. Maybe if they're hurt where it counts - in the wallet - they'll be less likely to rush harmful drugs onto the market just to make a buck or two billion.


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    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:06 PM  

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