Makers of Recalled Vioxx Pay Up For False Advertising

It has been almost a decade since the first Vioxx lawsuits made the news, and the manufacturer recalled the entire painkilling product. The first lawsuit netted the customer’s family $253 million. The man had been taking the drug for eight months before he died in his sleep. In a class action suit that was settled this month, the claimants will each receive around $50. The participants of the suit did not suffer damages from the product and did not, according to the terms of the suit, live in Missouri when they purchased the drug. This class was for persons who had paid for all or part of the product prior to October 1, 2004.

Not As Good As It Claimed To Be

Merck Sharp & Dohme settled the most-recent suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. The settlement came to $23 million. The participants in the recent suit did not claim that the drug had caused any injury or death; it claimed that the drug was advertised to have greater benefits than less-costly painkillers. The manufacturer did not agree to that charge as part of the settlement

Why Missouri Residents Were Excluded From This Suit

In January of this year, persons who had lived in Missouri when they purchased Vioxx settled a lawsuit they had initiated in 2004. The Missouri suit claimed that Merck, the manufacturer, had unlawfully promoted the sale of Vioxx. It also excluded any Missouri residents who had claims of injury or death against the company or who had previously settled their claims. As with the settlement in the Louisiana court this month, the company did not agree to the claims of unlawful promoting as part of the Missouri settlement. Participants in the Missouri case have until October 7, 2013 to submit a report requesting payment of the settlement. There are two methods from which the customers can choose for payment. The Missouri customers’ options are for a one-time payment of $180. Alternatively, if the customer has supporting receipts, he or she can claim $90 for each month of Vioxx use.

Sources:
Class Action Lawsuit and Settlement News
http://www.medpagetoday.com/PracticeManagement/Medicolegal/41603