UnNews:Man wins $9 million Vioxx lottery

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11 April 2006

(Atlantic City, NJ) John McDarby, an elderly New Jersey resident, was ecstatic on Tuesday to learn he won the Vioxx lottery, sponsored by Merck corporation. "I tried the asbestos lottery before, as well as the Viagra lottery years ago," he said, "but finally I hit the jackpot with this Vioxx thing." Vioxx is an anti-arthritic drug, with a 1 in 450,000 chance of causing a $9 million heart attack. Compared to Powerball odds of 1 in 80 million, it's a sure bet.

So far, 9650 other Vioxx users have been selected as eligible to win, but sponsor Merck is picking winners on a case-by-case basis, so the process might still take time. Spokesman Chuck Harrell was happy for Mr. McDarby, exclaiming, "We will appeal these winnings so that the process of awarding him the money is even more exciting - we don't want these joyous proceedings to end prematurely, denying Mr. McDarby and his family years of fun."

Merck investors were also ecstatic, as they thought the lottery award would be triple the current $9 million. Stock broker Hal Richington explained, "Fortunately for us, Mr. McDarby legal team didn't select the correct juror, ehrm, I mean ball #5, thus denying him the grand prize." With more money than predicted left in company coffers and thus the prospect for more exciting lotteries to come, shares of Merck rose 2% on NYSE trading.

Analyst Linda Crumm predicted that Merck's addictive lottery may be copied by other companies, although she acknowledges that pharmaceutical corporations are the ones best suited for this business model. "But," she clarified, "tobacco companies are also well-suited for these multi-million dollar lotteries." In fact, the current largest lottery jackpot was 245 million, awarded in the "Marlboro smooth flavor" game in 2003. The winner, Andrew Thompson, has since died from an inexplicable onset of lung cancer.

The Food and Drug Administration, responsible for overseeing these lotteries, assured that it would work on quickly approving new drugs that have "an even higher chance of causing heart attacks - and thus chances of winning," said spokesman Al Rappaport. Asked what he would use the money for, Mr. McDarby answered, "Well, most of it will be needed for my 24 hour intensive medical care, but I should have a few grand left over for a nice sportscar."


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