With the popularity that Vioxx gained starting from its release in 1999, who would ever thought that it would only stay in the market for a few years. Merck, the maker of the drug, voluntarily made its withdrawal because of the discovered heart risks of Vioxx. The company earned billions of dollars while the product was still in the market. It was not only widely used in the US but in over 80 countries including Canada, UK, Australia and Mexico. The drug had caused heart attacks, strokes and deaths to thousands of users all over the world. This led to lawsuits being filed against the company. Though it earned a lot of money from the drug, it also spent a lot on Vioxx settlement.
Merck is the oldest operating pharmaceutical company in the world and is the second largest in the US. It has helped millions of patients fight diseases and live better lives with their medications. Vioxx was one of their most popular drugs when it was released. It became their third largest selling drug while it was still under distribution. The development of Vioxx was started in 1992. The company decided to create a COX-2 inhibitor that would ease inflammation and pain without blocking COX-1, which is the enzyme found in the body that protects the stomach lining. This separates the drug from other regular NSAIDs.
Most NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug block both enzymes, posing stomach risks like ulcer and bleeding. By blocking only the COX enzyme that produces inflammation and pain, Vioxx brings relief without the high risk of developing stomach problems.
Known Side Effects of Vioxx
Though taking Vioxx provides lower risks of developing gastrointestinal problems, it also has other know side effects. Patients taking the drug may experience any of these complications. The symptoms may not be the same for all. However, if any changes on the body or health are experienced while taking Vioxx, immediate medical attention is recommended.
Some of the less fatal complications of the drug are diarrhea, dizziness, nausea, weakness, headache, stomach discomfort and indigestion. Other more serious symptoms are swelling of the body, unusual bruising, chest pain, liver disease, fatigue, anxiety and kidney problems. Whether the symptoms experienced are mild, it is still best to tell the doctor about it to prevent the condition from getting worse. Furthermore, this may also be cause by an underlying health problem, which must be treated.
Vioxx may not be taken with other drugs, as well as if with certain medical conditions. Some of the medications that may contradict with Vioxx are ibuprofen, methotrexate, lithium and aspirin. Patients with heart, liver or kidney problems are also not advised to take this medication. This may cause birth defects so pregnant women must not take Vioxx too.
Heart attack is the most fatal complication of Vioxx. The company failed to inform the consumers about it leading to several heart problems and deaths on patients. The heart risks posed by the drug were only discovered because of the APPROVe (Adenomatous Polyp Prevention On Vioxx) study conducted by Merck in 2001. The study compared Vioxx patients with placebo users to see if Vioxx was effective in treating polyps. However, several Vioxx participants developed heart problems especially starting from the 18th of its use. Because of this, APPROVe was stopped and Merck recalled Vioxx from the market in 2004.
Vioxx Settlement Details
The details of Vioxx settlements on different states and countries are usually accessible on the Internet. Lawyers that represent class actions against Merck have websites that update plaintiffs on the progress of the lawsuits. This makes it easier for those who are involved in the cases to learn the current news on their complaints. Information regarding the claims on settled lawsuits is also available. Those who were affected by the heart problems induced by Vioxx filed their complaints. These are not only patients from the US but from other countries as well.
In UK, class lawsuits were filed by plaintiffs. However, they were not successful in reaching a settlement with the company. In Australia, over 400 complaints were filed against Merck. In 2010, Graeme Peterson was awarded $285,000 by the court for suffering heart attack allegedly caused by Vioxx. However, the decision was reversed in 2011 because according to the Australian court, the man was at risk of heart problems even when not taking Vioxx. Merck agreed to pay $36.8 million for the Vioxx settlement in Canada, in which over 1,000 complaints were filed. Vioxx Settlements in Ontario may not be as huge as the settlement amount in US. However, the representatives of the cases are happy with their success.
Vioxx Settlement in Missouri, New York and Kentucky.
In the US, thousands of lawsuits were filed against Merck. Approximately 140,000 heart attacks and 55,000 were caused by Vioxx. Because of this, around 60,000 lawsuits were faced by the company. In Missouri, the plaintiffs’ counsels were asking for $220 million for the settlement. The settlement hearing will be held on March 15, 2013. On the other hand, the company agreed to pay $61 million for Vioxx settlement in New York. $6 million was paid by the company to the state on behalf of Kentucky Medicaid program for Kentucky Vioxx Settlement. Individual lawsuits were also settled by the company. To settle the remaining lawsuits, it agreed to pay $4.85 billion.
How to File Vioxx Lawsuit
Those who would like to file a lawsuit against the company may seek the help of a reputable Vioxx lawyer. A lawyer that specializes on Vioxx cases is the best choice because he or she knows the requirements, procedures and everything about Vioxx lawsuits. Search for those that have previously represented Vioxx patients on their cases. Most of these lawyers offer free evaluation. Take advantage of this offer and set a schedule with them. Ask questions that you may have regarding the lawsuit. A good lawyer would be willing to explain Vioxx lawsuit information and do it in a manner that can be easily understood. The lawyer must be licensed to practice on the state and should not ask for any upfront fee.