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Vioxx Lawsuits

Vioxx lawsuits have been flooding the courtrooms since New Jersey-based Merck and Company conducted a voluntary withdrawal of the prescription painkiller from the market on September 30, 2004. In Texas, the filing deadline for Vioxx lawsuits was September 30, 2006.

 

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Some other states share the Texas deadline while other have their own statute of limitations. So, if you have been contemplating a Vioxx lawsuit, then time is of the essence for filing in most states.

Even if you think the deadline has passed it is important to check with a personal injury lawyer versed in product liability in your state to make sure of the specific laws regarding Vioxx.

Vioxx was pulled from the market when its side effects were linked to heart attacks, stroke, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism and other related cardiovascular injuries. Vioxx (rofecoxib) is part of a class of COX 2 selective NSAIDs that have been linked to severe cardiovascular side effects by the APPROVe trials, the Food & Drug Administration and Health Canada. Vioxx was once prescribed to relieve acute pain in adults, arthritis and painful menstrual cycles. An off-spring of the Vioxx lawsuits has been a flurry of Bextra lawsuits and Celebrex lawsuits since each drug is in the same Cox 2 class.

In August 2005, there were 7,500 Vioxx lawsuits filed at that time. By August 2006, that number climbed to 140,000 cases. With deadlines for filing looming in many states, the number of Vioxx lawsuits is sure to climb drastically.

On August 20, 2005 a Texas jury found Merck and Company liable in the Vioxx lawsuit for $253.4 million for a case brought by the widow of 59-year-old triathlete, Robert Ernst. The verdict called for $24.4 million in compensatory damages and $229 million in punitive damages. The jury deliberated less than 11 hours before coming to the verdict. Ernst was an apparently healthy produce manager for Wal-Mart, who took Vioxx for 8-months before dying of heart arrhythmia, according to the Texas coroner. This case was considered one of the weaker Vioxx lawsuits on the docket since the drug was not directly linked to heart arrhythmia.

The Ernst trial brought out several facts unfavorable to Merck. First was a 1997 email from one of the Merck scientists warning of the cardiovascular risks of Vioxx. Second, was a "Dear Doctor" letter in 2001, grossly understating the incidents of cardiovascular problems to physicians who were prescribing Vioxx. Training documents for the sales force were also presented telling the employees to play "dodgeball" with the doctors who asked about the cardiovascular side effects of Vioxx.

When Merck finally did start telling the doctors about the dangerous side effects of Vioxx, they failed to inform patients by neglecting to add a warning to the medication's label. In August 2006, the New England Journal of Medicine announced that Merck failed to report important cardiovascular risks in their Vigor clinical trials. Because of this announcement an earlier Vioxx lawsuit that was settled in favor of Merck was vacated by the judge in the case. In April 2006, a jury awarded 77-year-old John McDarby $4.5 million in compensatory damages and $9 million in punitive damages because Merck failed to warn consumers of the perilous side effects of Vioxx.

Before Vioxx was pulled from the shelves, over 84 million people had taken the drug with Merck spending over $100 million per year in promoting the use of Vioxx. Merck has only set aside $675 million to pay for attorneys and legal defense costs for the slew of Vioxx lawsuits that will bog down the company for years to come.

If you or a loved one has been injured by using Vioxx, then contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to discuss the case. It may or may not be too late to file, so check out the statute of limitations for a Vioxx lawsuit in your state with a personal injury attorney who specializes in pharmaceutical product liability cases.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 


 

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