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simon pearlOn 21 April, a Texan jury awarded $32m (£17.4m) to the family of Leonel Garza, a 71-year-old who died of a heart attack in 2001 after briefly taking the painkiller Vioxx. This follows an award of $13.5m (£7.2m) by a New Jersey jury awarded to John McDarby two weeks ago and adds to the downturn in fortunes for the manufacturer, Merck, in its efforts to fight each of more than 11,000 claims it faces in the US courts.

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