Vioxx Trial

TRENTON, New Jersey (AP) -- A New Jersey jury has ruled that Merck painkiller Vioxx contributed to the heart attack of a postal worker.

The panel awarded Frederick "Mike" Humeston and his wife 20 million dollars in compensatory damages.

The verdict at the end of the eight-week trial means Merck has now won nine cases and lost five in litigation over its former blockbuster arthritis pill.

The 61-year-old Boise, Idaho man suffered a heart attack in September 2001, several months before Merck put a stronger warning about the cardiovascular risks of Vioxx on the drug's detailed package insert.

The jury ruled earlier this month that Merck was negligent and did not provide adequate warning about risks prior to Humeston's heart attack.

A third phase of the trial will now begin, with jurors considering whether they should assess punitive damages against Merck.

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