Vioxx - Recent News - FindLaw
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November 9, 2007: $4.85 Billion Settlement for Vioxx Claims
Vioxx manufacturer Merck & Co., Inc. announced that it will pay $4.85 billion into a fund to settle most lawsuits filed over injuries or deaths allegedly caused by the once-popular painkiller medication. The agreement is not considered a class action settlement, as Merck will still consider claims individually before making any payments from the settlement fund. A Merck Press Release contains detailed information about the agreement and conditions for qualifying claims. Vioxx was withdrawn from the marketplace in September 2004, due to increased risks of cardiovascular problems (including heart attack and stroke) in users of the drug.
March 27, 2007: Jury Clears Merck in Heart Attack Death
Jurors in Madison County, Missouri cleared Vioxx manufacturer Merck & Co., Inc. of liability in a lawsuit which alleged that the painkiller caused a 52-year-old woman's fatal heart attack. As part of their decision, the jury concluded that Patty Schwaller's 2003 heart attack was caused in part by her obesity and other health problems. Vioxx was withdrawn from the marketplace in September 2004.
March 12, 2007: Jury Awards $47.5M in Vioxx Case
A New Jersey jury awarded $47.5 million to a retired Idaho postal worker and his wife, finding that Vioxx manufacturer Merck & Co., Inc. failed to provide adequate warnings about the painkiller's risks, and that Vioxx use was a factor in plaintiff Frederick Humeston's 2001 heart attack. An initial award of $20 million in compensatory damages was increased to a total of $47.5 million after the jury ordered Merck to pay $27.5 million in punitive damages. The jury verdict was the fifth entered against Merck since Vioxx was pulled from the marketplace in September 2004, due to concerns over patient safety.
January 16, 2007: Merck May Face Vioxx Class Action
A New Jersey appeals court decision may open the door to a class action lawsuit against Merck & Co. by former Vioxx patients who are currently in good health, but who want the drug company to pay their medical monitoring costs. The Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey decision overturned a lower court's dismissal of the plaintiffs' claims, saying that those claims were "prematurely terminated." Vioxx was withdrawn from the marketplace in September 2004, due in large part to concerns over links between the painkiller and increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
December 13, 2006: Victory for Merck in Federal Vioxx Trial
The jury in a New Orleans federal court trial rejected a Tennessee man's claim that Merck failed to adequately warn his doctors about the risks of Vioxx, which he blamed for a heart attack he suffered in 2003. The verdict is the fourth victory for (Vioxx manufacturer) Merck & Co., Inc. in five federal trials. To date, Merck has won three state trials and has been found liable in three, with thousands of cases still pending.
November 22, 2006: Class Action Denied for Vioxx Lawsuits
A U.S. District Court judge in New Orleans has denied class action status to thousands of federal lawsuits that allege a link between Vioxx and heart attacks suffered by people who used the painkiller. The plaintiffs were seeking class status under the laws of the state of New Jersey, where Merck & Co., Inc. (manufacturer of Vioxx) is located.
November 15, 2006: Merck Cleared in 11th Vioxx Verdict
A federal jury in New Orleans cleared Merck of any liability in connection with a heart attack suffered by a 64 year-old Utah man who had taken Vioxx for about 11 months. The verdict was the 11th in thousands of Vioxx cases that have been filed nationwide, with plaintiffs alleging that the recalled painkiller (withdrawn from the market in 2004) increases the chance of a heart attack or stroke.
Sept. 12, 2006: Studies Raise New Vioxx Questions
The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports the results of recent studies suggesting that health risks associated with Vioxx use may be worse than previous research indicated -- including evidence of kidney problems, and signs that use of the painkiller causes an immediate increased risk of heart attack or stroke (rather than health risks after 18 months of use, as was previously suggested by Vioxx manufacturer Merck & Co., Inc.). Vioxx was withdrawn from the marketplace in September 2004.
Aug. 30, 2006: Judge Tosses $50M Award in Vioxx Case
A federal judge threw out a $50 million compensatory damage award and ordered a new trial on damages after an August 17th jury verdict held Vioxx manufacturer Merck & Co. liable for failing to warn doctors about the dangers of Vioxx. The verdict will stand, but the judge found the amount of the award (given to a retired FBI agent who suffered a heart attack after taling Vioxx) to be "grossly excessive" under the circumstances of the case. Read the Judge's Order
Aug. 17, 2006: Merck Found Liable for Failing To Warn Doctors About Vioxx Dangers
In a federal trial in New Orleans, a jury found that Merck & Co. failed to warn doctors about the risks of its painkiller Vioxx. The jury awarded a retired FBI agent $51 million in damages, arising from a heart attack he suffered in 2002 after taking the drug for several years. Merck withdrew Vioxx from the market in September 2004. Read the Original Complaint
August 2, 2006: California Jury Clears Merck in Vioxx Case
A Los Angeles jury found Vioxx manufacturer Merck & Co., Inc. not liable for an eldery man's heart problems, determining that the drugmaker did not wrongfully conceal information about the painkiller. The 71 year-old plaintiff began using Vioxx in 1999, and suffered a heart attack in 2001. Vioxx was withdrawn from the marketplace in 2004.
July 13, 2006: Merck Cleared in N.J. Vioxx Case
A jury in New Jersey cleared Vioxx manufacturer Merck & Co., Inc. of liability for the heart attack of a 68 year-old woman who had taken the painkiller for approximately two years, marking the fourth victory for Merck in seven completed court trials over the safety of Vioxx.
April 21, 2006: Family of Vioxx User Awarded $32M
A Texas jury found Vioxx manufacturer Merck & Co., Inc. liable for the fatal heart attack of a 71 year-old man who had used the painkiller for approximately one month prior to his death. The jury awarded $32 million ($7M as compensatory damages and $25M as punitive damages) to the man's family, after two days of deliberation.
April 11, 2006: N.J. Jury Awards $13.5M After Split Verdict in Vioxx Trial
A New Jersey jury awarded an additional $9 million as punitive damages for a former Vioxx patient, after finding a link between Vioxx use and the plaintiff's heart attack. On April 5th, 2006, the same jury found Merck & Co., Inc. liable for the 77 year-old plaintiff's illness, awarding him $4.5 million in compensatory damages based on the drug manufacturer's failure to properly warn of the painkiller's safety risk. The jury had cleared Merck of liability in connection with a second plaintiff's heart attack, finding that use of Vioxx was not a factor in the 60 year-old's illness.
February 17, 2006: Victory for Merck in First Federal Vioxx Trial
The jury in the first Vioxx trial in federal court cleared Vioxx manufacturer Merck & Co., Inc. of any liability in connection with the heart attack and death of a 53-year old Florida man who had taken the prescription painkiller for less than a month. A mistrial in the same case had been declared in December 2005, after the first jury was unable to reach a verdict.
December 12, 2005: Mistrial Declared in Federal Vioxx Trial
A mistrial has been declared in the first federal court trial over the safety of prescription painkiller Vioxx (pulled from the market in September 2004), after the jury was unable to reach a verdict despite three days of deliberations. The lawsuit was brought against Merck (manufacturer of the painkiller) by the widow of a man who died of a heart attack in 2001, after he had used Vioxx for approximately one month. The mistrial declaration means that the case can be re-tried before a new jury, or the parties can attempt to reach a settlement.
November 3, 2005: Merck Found Not Liable in Second Vioxx Trial
In a victory for Vioxx manufacturer Merck & Co., Inc., a New Jersey jury found the company not liable for a postal carrier's non-fatal heart attack in 2001. The plaintiff had claimed that his use of Vioxx (and Merck's alleged failure to warn Vioxx users of the painkiller's safety risks) caused a blood clot to form in his leg, resulting in a heart attack. The New Jersey jury disagreed, finding no such failure to warn, and insufficient proof of any fraud or misrepresentation committed by Merck.
August 19, 2005: $253.5M Verdict in First Vioxx Trial
A Texas jury awarded $253.5M to the widow of a Vioxx user, in the first trial among thousands of personal injury lawsuits seeking to hold drug manufacturer Merck & Co., Inc. liable for health problems caused by the painkiller. Vioxx was pulled from the worldwide market in September of 2004. Following the verdict, Merck & Co., Inc. announced that it intends to appeal the decision.
July 11, 2005: Jury Selection in First Vioxx Trial
Jury selection began in the first Vioxx trial in the U.S., as a pool of more than 100 possible jurors completed questionnaires in a Texas courtroom. The case, brought by the widow of a Vioxx user, is the first to go to trial among thousands of civil suits against Merck & Co., Inc., manufacturer of Vioxx. The painkiller was withdrawn from the market in September 2004, due to health dangers associated with its use, including risk of stroke and heart attack.
November 18, 2004: U.S. Senate Holds Vioxx Drug Safety Hearings
The U.S. Senate Finance Committee conducted a hearing called "FDA, Merck and Vioxx: Putting Patient Safety First," to consider allegations of mismanagement by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Merck pharmaceutical company regarding the safety of Vioxx, a painkiller withdrawn from the worldwide drug market in September 2004. More information: Testimony before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee
September 30, 2004: Vioxx Pulled from Drug Market Worldwide
Merck & Co., Inc., the manufacturer of Vioxx, announced a voluntary withdrawal of the arthritis and pain relief drug from the worldwide drug market, after results from a recent clinical trial indicated that Vioxx users may have an increased risk of suffering a heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular event. Merck's action was not ordered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but was initiated by Merck based on its own findings from the clinical trial.
Approved by the FDA in 1999 for the treatment of osteoarthritis and forms of acute pain (and later, for relief of rheumatoid arthritis), Vioxx is a member of the "Cox-2 inhibitor" family of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.