Welcome! We regret to inform you that the Injury Board National News Desk has been discontinued. Feel free to browse around and enjoy our previously published articles, or visit The Injury Blog Network for the latest in personal injury news.

Merck Partial Payments for Vioxx Begin This Month

Posted by Jane Akre
Thursday, August 07, 2008 4:27 PM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Vioxx, Merck, FDA and Prescription Drugs, Dangerous Drugs

Merck trying to limit Vioxx claimants.


IMAGE SOURCE: Merck Newsroom on Vioxx  Web site


Drug maker Merck, should begin issuing partial payments by the end of August, to people who suffered heart attacks after taking the pain medication, Vioxx. 

It's all part of a $4.85 billion dollar settlement to resolve approximately 50,000 claims by individuals who suffered heart attacks, stroke, or their survivors.

Last November, Merck agreed to the settlement to compensate users for their injuries. It  marks the beginning of the end of a four-year legal battle following the recall of Vioxx from the market.

So far, about 48,500 of the roughly 50,000 who were harmed have enrolled and submitted their paperwork, according to a Merck statement. That requirement met now precludes the company from walking away from the commitment to settle.

Claimants will have to prove they suffered an injury, that they took at least 30 Vioxx pills, within 60 days prior to the injury, and that they ingested Vioxx within 14 days of the claimed injury.  They will also have to document any pre-existing conditions that may have contributed to a heart attack or stroke.

The Vioxx case has cost Merck at least $6.8 billion, of which $1.53 is for legal costs associated with defending the drug maker.  Before the settlement, Merck won 11 cases and lost five of the individual trials brought against the company over Vioxx. 

But continuing to battle case-by-case could have cost the company at least $20 billion, experts estimate. Before the settlement, Merck had vowed to fight all the 27,000 claims in court. 

Vioxx profits totaled at least $11 billion from 1999 to 2004 when it was withdrawn. 

The payments will begin in late August and continue on a rolling basis, company spokesperson Casey Stavropoulos tells IB News.  

While settlement adjuster, BrownGreerPLC continues to verify supporting documentation and process papers, is being decided on a case-by-case basis among Merck representatives and a plaintiff’s committee representative who should receive compensation.  

Glenn Zuckerman of Weitz Luxenberg, a New York law firm representing claimants, tells IB News to expect the list of more than 50,000 claimants to be whittled down. “From 55,000 claimants, you won’t see 30,000 eligibles when all is said and done,” he said. 

The company will try to disqualify thousands of additional claimants for a lack of evidence linking Vioxx to their injury, according to Ted Mayer, Merck's chief Vioxx lawyer. 

"We expect to be making motions to dismiss a large number of those claims during the coming weeks and months," Mayer said. 

Payments are reported to range from a minimum of $5,000 to a few million dollars, depending on how serious an injury the plaintiff suffered, how much Vioxx they took, and how many other risk factors were present.

"This is a great day for the plaintiffs injured by Vioxx who will within weeks begin to receive compensation for their injuries," said lawyer Chris Seeger, a member of the plaintiffs’ steering committee. "I couldn't be happier for my clients."

More plaintiffs can be added to the settlement up until October 30 to accommodate the roughly 700 more plaintiffs who may qualify to participate. 700 others have reportedly not been located by their attorneys. They must have had some sort of legal action, a pending lawsuit or agreement as of November 9, 2007, when the settlement was reached. 

By the end of August partial payments will begin to be made to survivors of a heart attack or the survivors of those who suffered sudden cardiac death.

Payments for ischemic stroke victims caused by Vioxx are schedule to begin after February 2009.

Merck also faces about 260 potential class-action suits, alleging either harm or financial losses related to Vioxx that still must be resolved.

A Canadian court has certified another class-action lawsuit against Merck & Co on behalf of several thousand Vioxx users outside of the provinces of Quebec and Saskatchewan where certified class-action personal injury cases already exist.  Vioxx was developed in Quebec at a Merck research facility.  

Speaking for Merck, attorney Mary M. Thomson said, “The company intends to defend these cases vigorously over the coming years, and we are confident that the courts will decide these cases based on sound science.”  

Families in the UK are wondering why they have been excluded from the settlement.

The family of 66-year-old June Congdon from Rayleigh, England, say she died from a heart attack three years after taking Vioxx for her arthritis.  Her husband, William Congdon and daughter, Loretta Barnham says Merck is responsible for her September 2002 death, which followed two heart attacks that year.  They are among 300 living in the UK who are among plaintiffs living outside of the U.S. who are not deemed eligible for compensation. 

Barnham and Congdon are pursuing legal action against Merck to obtain a similar settlement for British victims and are urging their representatives to pressure Merck.

“It’s disgusting” she said. “We’re as much human beings as the Americans are.”

Rayleigh MP Mark Francois has written to Health Secretary Alan Johnson and Health Minister Dawn Primarolo.  He says “this campaign is going to gain momentum. I think ministers will come under further pressure to persuade Merck to compensate British victims.”

Dr. David Graham, of the FDA’s Office of Surveillance and Epidemiology (OSE), told Congress in February 2007, “Vioxx was an enormous national catastrophe. Up to 60,000 Americans, most over the age of 50, died from Vioxx-related heart attacks, about as many as the number of US soldiers killed during the Viet Nam War.

Another 80,000 suffered non-fatal, but nonetheless life-threatening, heart attacks. FDA had multiple opportunities to prevent this harm but did nothing.”   #


Anonymous User
Posted by Shirley Duncan
Friday, August 08, 2008 6:36 PM EST

Will Heart Failure vicims be commensated at all! I had congestive heart failure in 2001 at 61 years od - before the warning on the vioxx labels came about! Surely there are many more like myself

Posted by rhonda
Saturday, August 09, 2008 11:17 PM EST

Dear Shirley, please go to this link for help with your issue.


Anonymous User
Posted by rhonda
Saturday, August 09, 2008 11:17 PM EST

Dear Shirley, please go to this link for help with your issue.


Anonymous User
Posted by rhonda
Saturday, August 09, 2008 11:21 PM EST

wow i just saw they arent accepting new clients. Have you called attorneys around where you live? All you need to do is join the settlement agreement? Try this website


seeger and weiss attorneys (do a search)

Anonymous User
Posted by shirleykea
Monday, August 11, 2008 2:00 PM EST

I just would like to know why we or me, i can't speak for anyone else why i haven't even been notified if iwill even qualifie for a pennyor if my case was dropped as i just read at top of page that they would be dropping the cases to 30,000 or less in up coming wks. and momths,and the cases left that were left to get componsation would only get the min.which is 5,000and any thatgot the max. it would only be a couple millionif i am lucky to get any it would be the min and and my lawyer would get most of thatand that, not half of what they should get for their time and work. now..... please answer for me where dose the 4.8 bilion go. shirley kea

Anonymous User
Posted by jo
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 12:44 AM EST

Whats disqusting is the state of TX and several other states have sued recently and settled and likely, already got the money [TX 4MIL.] , Of the millions the states settled on, is this also coming out of the allgeded 4.8 billon [to the injured] ?

Anonymous User
Posted by staci
Friday, August 15, 2008 1:11 AM EST

It's not coming out of the $4.8 Billion settlement.


Texas and 28 other states will share a $58 million payment from Merck. Texas' portion of the settlement will exceed $4 million.

Anonymous User
Posted by Melvin
Friday, August 15, 2008 2:18 AM EST

Why are heart cases being paid before stoke victims?
My Wife died as a result of Vioxx and a stroke. Is death from a heart condition more difficult or more horrible than a stroke death.

Anonymous User
Posted by frank Willis
Saturday, August 16, 2008 6:31 PM EST

Is a person that had 2 heart attacks after taking Vioxx be entitled to 2 settlement checks?

Anonymous User
Posted by keith
Thursday, August 28, 2008 10:29 PM EST

i took vioxx every day for over a year and got nothing not even a refund or an apology. i did not have a heart attack or stroke but i have other side effects.is there nothing i can do.

thank you

Anonymous User
Posted by LUIS
Tuesday, September 02, 2008 12:31 PM EST


Anonymous User
Posted by e.guillory
Thursday, September 04, 2008 12:48 PM EST

i was told the the payments are made based on the state that you live in. any info.

Comments for this article are closed.

About the National News Desk

Our mission is to seek the complete truth and provide a full and fair account of the events and issues that surround personal safety, accident prevention, and injury recovery.  We are committed to serving the public with honesty and integrity in these efforts.

Hurt in an accident? Contact an Injury Board member

Subscribe to Blog Updates

Enter your email address if you would like to receive email notifications when comments are made on this post.

Email address


RSS Feed

Add the National News Desk to your favorite RSS reader

Add to Google Reader Add to myYahoo Add to myMSN Add to Bloglines Add to Newsgator Add to Netvibes Add to Pageflakes