Merck, the manufacturer of the drug Vioxx, removed the drug from worldwide market on September 30th 2004. The reason for this recall was the health hazard associated with vioxx. After a 3-year study on the vioxx drug, it was pointed out that the drug can cause any type of cardiovascular problems like heart stroke, cardiac arrest, and sudden cardiac death and so on. However by the time vioxx was recalled, many people had already taken the drug and suffered from the before-mentioned side effects as well. People who had suffered in any way by administering this medicine were liable for compensations which would include their medical cost, lost wages, pain and any other kind of damages.

The entire fraternity of pharmaceutical companies, lawyers, consumers and corporate officials are following all the Vioxx litigations very closely, and trying to predict the outcome for its manufacture- Merck. More than 4,200 lawsuits including both at the state and federal level across the country are still pending and have to be sorted out by the manufacturer. It is believed that the company has reserved funds worth $675 million to settle all the legal cases; however analysts are of the opinion that this amount may not be able to suffice all the lawsuits and that Merck should reserve some more money for the same purpose.

Few cases which have been reported can be summarized as below:

  1. Robert Lane, a man from Fort Myers filed a lawsuit against Merck- This man from Fort Myers initiated the class action lawsuit for his state. He has filed a case stating that his heart problems started after he took Vioxx. The litigation also alleges that the manufacturers were well aware of the adverse side effects and had put it under wraps on purpose for their own benefit.
  2. Frances Dunleavey from Collier County, filed second case from South West Florida- Frances Dunleavey, a Naples resident filed for compensation for her husband Edward, who apparently died of heart stroke after taking vioxx for three years. The petition filed claims that due to manufacture’s sheer negligence, misinterpretation, breach of warranty and wrongdoings, Edward died of heart attack, in the middle of the night, who otherwise was a hale and hearty person with no heart related problems.
  3. Class Action lawsuit filed in Illinois over Vioxx- This lawsuit comprises of about 300,000 people who have either suffered themselves or are fighting on the behalf of their loved ones. The petition filed is claiming for the costs borne by the patient in buying the medicine, the doctor fee and other diagnostics fee included while getting treated for the side effects caused by Vioxx.
  4. Caroline Nevels of Lexington filed another class action lawsuit- Caroline Nevels of Lexington, Missouri, is suing Merck for the death of her daughter in the year 2002. The petition states that Caroline’s daughter took vioxx for two and a half years before succumbing to heart attack caused by the medicine.

Many other people from various cities namely Oklahoma, Canada, etc. have filed a class- action lawsuit against the company. For instance in Canada, Greg Monforton’s (former President of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association and senior partner of Greg Monforton & Partners) has received approximately 4,000 inquiries from all across Canada, seeking compensation advice for the damage caused to them due to the use of Vioxx. Since the nature of most of the cases was quite similar, Monforton picked up 300 individual cases from all across the various Canadian provinces. Monfortorn is quite hopeful of the fact that Merck will settle the cases even outside the U.S. eagerly, however at the same time maintains that any delay or indifferent attitude towards its plaintiffs will not be accepted. In case, Merck does not give favorable response to settle the issues, then Monfortorn is prepared to take up all the cases individually.

So in case any patient or doctor has any query the same can either be answered at the manufacturer’s website www.merck.com or visit www.vioxx.com or the FDA- Vioxx webpage. Alternatively, patients can also call (888) 36-(VIOXX) or 1-888-368-4699.

Manufacturer has also made arrangements to refund the money on the unused Vioxx, by mailing the same in the original packet along with the pharmacy receipt to:

NNC Group,

Merck Returns,

2670 Executive Dr.

Indianapolis, IN 46241.

The package should also carry a self addressed envelope stating the patient’s complete name and address along with the contact number. The manufacturer would be more than pleased to reimburse the cost of the full prescription and also the regular shipping charges.