Friday, November 9, 2007

Merck Appears To Resolve Legal Uncertainty By Settling Vioxx Suits For $4.85 Billion Update 11-10


Having arthritis may have become a little less painful. Vioxx was touted as a near miracle drug. Many arthritis patients cringed when Merck pulled the product from pharmacies. For those who have survived complications of the drug, getting up in the morning may be a little bit easier. Merck & Co. will pay $4.85 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits concerning Vioxx, an anti-inflammatory drug. There were potentially 26,600 lawsuits representing 47,000 plaintiffs. In addition there were potentially 265 class action cases. Plaintiff's claim that they or family members who used the drug had disabling or fatal consequences. The agreementattempts to settle all of the cases filed in federal and state courts. In order for the deal to be binding, 85 percent of all plaintiffs must agree to drop their cases. Three of four judges who are overseeing most of the Vioxx claims participated in the settlement discussions. It is estimated that the average settlement may be about $100,000 per injured party.

After losing the first Vioxx case for $253 million, Merck has won a several civil cases in numerous states. Merck put $70 million in reserves for defending lawsuits. As of Sept. 30, Merck had reserved a total of $1.92 billion for legal expenses and spent a total of $1.2 billion.
Settlements under the plan would vary depending on injuries and the length of time the injured party used Vioxx. "We've been asked by the judge to talk to the plaintiffs and we are talking to them.. right now there is no finalized agreement," said Kent Jarrell, spokesman for Merck. Even if the lawsuits are settled, Merck must still contend with a number of state and federal investigations. To date there is no indication that the executives will face criminal charges like the Purdue executives faced with Oxycontin. See 7-21-07 Legal Pub Oxycontin Article. Legal Pub Link.

9 comments:

Old Man River said...

Thanks for the story. I wondered what I might get if I join the settlement. I understand that it's just an estimate and the amount will vary with the amount of exposure to vioxx.

Old Man River (walking a little lighter in the wake of the news!)

blond bombshell said...

I used Vioxx once. I fell off my broom stick and landed on my rump. Unfortunately for me, I took vioxx and other than bruising of my pride, I had no heart problems immediately.

However, I dumped the man I was dating 3 weeks later which did cause some heart ache. Not for me, but for him. Can my ex-boyfriend qualify for the settlement?

Shell

Anonymous said...

I used vioxx once and wound up in the hospital. How? I took some for my arthritic knees. It worked so well that when I got up off of my toilet and my legs felt so good that it accidently caused my body to leap up with my head hitting the ceiling. My head hit so hard it went through the ceiling of my apartment and through the floor of the apartment above me. Just then my wife knocked on the door of the lady who lived in the apartment above ours and caught me staring at the naked woman who resided in the apartment.Don't believe it? Neither did my wife. My wife proceeded to beat me so bad that I wound up in the hospital.

Do I have a case for compensation for my vioxx use? This is completely true or my name is not William Jefferson Clinton.

Anonymous said...

Vioxx rocks. Nothing works for me as well as vioxx. Now that I can't get it, I have turned to oxycontin to deaden the pain. I have moved from one potential lawsuit to another...

striker said...

Another Vioxx story brought to you by a striking writer...

Walking the picket line hurts the knees and ankles. Hoisting the heavy on strike signs causes havoc on the shoulders. When Aleve doesn't do the trick, our minds wonder to a better day when vioxx was available like candy. It did not make you high, but it calmed down the inflammation enough that you sometimes felt like climbing a mountain.

Now many think that the writers strike is about DVD revenue. True, but it is also about Vioxx. Our fingers were so sore from typing all the great shows and jokes that Aleve, asprin and tylenol will no longer work. We want Vioxx back. Merck are you listening? Us striking writers need cash to feed our families and we are prepared to write some commercials for you!

Striker

Dollar Bill said...

Time to cash in on the bad card you were dealt. Got arthritis? Bummer. Took Vioxx? Got Cash!

That is the great American way, baby!


Dollar Bill

Anonymous said...

Bill, you got me laughing so hard that my arthritic ribs are aching.

Is that compensable personal injury?

Anonymous said...

Great article!

Anonymous said...

Celebrex commercials also admit to possible complications with their product too!