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Another Merck Victory Over Vioxx

Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, June 04, 2008 3:04 PM EST
Category: On The Road, Major Medical, Protecting Your Family, In The Workplace
Tags: FDA and Prescription Drugs, Vioxx, Merck, Dangerous Drugs, Drug Products

Merck has another victory in court, this time before the New Jersey Supreme court.  




IMAGE SOURCE : Wikimedia Commons/ Human heart/ author: Dake 


Today the New Jersey Supreme Court decided that Vioxx users who want to continue  medical monitoring to determine if they were harmed by the drug, do not have to be compensated by drugmaker, Merck & Co.

The 5-1 ruling means a class-action lawsuit will be dismissed.  Merck’s position is that there is no reason that individuals need to be continuously monitored, four years after the drug was taken off the market.

Many patients who took Vioxx for pain continued consulting with cardiac doctors and with electrocardiogram monitoring. Those individuals will not be eligible for a $4.85 billion settlement by Merck because they did not make a claim for harm, the court said.  

"Thus, we conclude that because plaintiffs cannot satisfy the definition of harm to state a product liability claim under the Product Liability Act, plaintiffs' claim for medical monitoring damages must fail," the court said.

Earlier, a trial court had decided to dismiss the medical monitoring suit. An appellate court disagreed, ruling the original dismissal was premature.

This is just the latest in a string of victories for Merck, which pulled Vioxx from the market in 2004 after it was linked to a doubling in the risk of heart attack and stroke among patients who used the drug for at least 18 months.

Recently, appellate courts in Texas and New Jersey struck down victories for plaintiffs or greatly reduced jury awards.

Three plaintiffs still have outstanding product liability judgments against Merck.

Last November, Merck agreed to end thousands of outstanding injury claims by agreeing to a $4.85 billion settlement.  At the time, more than 26,000 lawsuits were filed by people who had taken Vioxx and claimed they had been harmed.

So far, at least 45,000 individuals claim they are eligible to share in the settlement. #

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