Plaintiffs' attorneys had requested a motion for class action status against Merck & Co. for personal injury and wrongful death after taking Vioxx, a painkiller which was taken off the market in 2004 after it was found to raise a patient's risk of heart attack or stroke. Judge Eldon Fallon, New Orleans, denied the request.
There are approximately 24,000 lawsuits filed by people who claim to have been harmed because they took Vioxx. It was thought that a class action suit would have given the plaintiffs more clout in their battle against Merck - lawyers would have been able to sue on behalf of everybody.
Vioxx makers, Merck, decided right from the beginning to face each lawsuit individually. Many wonder whether this was the right decision. So far, after 11 lawsuits, Merck has won 7 and lost 4 - the losses involve payouts of tens of millions of dollars each. Seven-fourths of 24,000, multiplied by tens of millions of dollars is an awful lot of money to pay out.
Written by: Christian Nordqvist
Editor: Medical News Today
Publication Date: 2006-11-22 14:00