Merck Faces UK Lawsuits Over Vioxx Side Effects

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In the US, Vioxx has been found responsible for the death of a man taking the arthritis painkiller. Vioxx was withdrawn from worldwide use on 30 September 2004 following clinical trial results which showed an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. National law firm Irwin Mitchell is involved in a group claim through the English courts.

Friday’s judgment in the state court in Texas has found Vioxx responsible for the death of Robert Ernst, 59, and has awarded his family $253 million in damages from Merck, the producer of the drug. Merck has throughout denied liability and is likely to appeal.

While analysts’ set Merck & Co’s estimated liability for its withdrawn arthritis drug Vioxx at US $18 billion, the evidence supporting an increased risk of heart attack associated with Vioxx is mounting. There is also a growing realisation that Merck may have been aware of the risks posed by their medicine.

Vioxx, also known as Rofecoxib, was withdrawn from worldwide use on 30 September 2004 following clinical trial results which showed an increased risk of serious cardiovascular events, including heart attacks. National law firm Irwin Mitchell is working with Leigh Day & Co and Goodmans Solicitors to bring a group claim for compensation for adverse health effects caused by Vioxx in the English Court under the Consumer Protection Act 1987.

Until its withdrawal, Vioxx was used by approximately 400,000 people in the UK. Irwin Mitchell, Leigh Day & Co and Goodmans are pursuing Vioxx claims on behalf of people who have suffered heart attacks, or who have seen their relatives die from heart attacks after taking Vioxx. It is not known precisely how many people have suffered a heart attack whilst taking Vioxx, however the three firms involved are currently representing over 200 claimants, and following this judgement it is expected that other Vioxx claims will come forward.

More information on the Vioxx lawsuit is available on the Irwin Mitchell website at http://www.irwinmitchell.com/groupaction/our_work/defective_products/drugs/vioxx_claim.asp

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David Standard
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