Once again we can go back to the standard form:
Drug Company: Merck
Drug: rofecoxib (Vioxx)
Settled Federal charges of: Improper marketing (total settlement was a combined Federal and state action)
Fine paid: $950M
Fine as % of Annual Sales of Drug during Peak Year: 38%
Company Admits Guilt?: Can't tell from news report (see: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-merck-vioxx-20111122,0,1295689.story)
In the previous post--http://brodyhooked.blogspot.com/2011/11/what-could-penn-state-scandal-have-to.html-- we reviewed the story of Merck's settlements of civil suits brought individually by patients who suffered heart attacks after taking Vioxx, noting that Merck ended up paying out about $7B in legal expenses and settlements in that set of suits. This means that if we add this new settlement, it may actually be the case that Merck has paid out in legal expenses just about as much as it made off Vioxx. (I could not quickly locate accurate yearly sales figures, but it seems that Vioxx sold less than $1B in 1999, then jumped to $1.5B in sales after aggressive marketing began in 2000, and reached peak annual sales of about $2.5B before being yanked off the market in September, 2004.) That would be a relatively new development.