Merck & Co. may be on the verge of settling most of the major personal injury suits filed over the drug Vioxx, however, the company still faces a great deal of litigation over the painkiller that was pulled from market shelves in the year 2004 due to cardiovascular risks.
Merck announced a proposal in November for a settlement of $4.85 billion for personal injury cases in the U.S. that involved a heart attack, stroke, or death. According to the company, over 44,000 plaintiffs have enrolled.
However, the company, which is based out of Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, still has lawsuits over the drug coming from all directions. The plaintiffs range from patients in 18 different countries, to health care providers, to customers who want refunds after purchasing Vioxx, and to stockholders who are looking to recover losses they incurred because of the drug. New suits are continuing to be filed against the company.
Charges totaling $6.773 billion have been taken by Merck in order to pay for the settlement in addition to an army of the lawyers to handle the litigation, including approximately 20 personal injury cases which went through trials before the deal was proposed by Merck.
However, there are thousands of former users of the drug who have claimed personal injuries, including dangerous chest pain and abnormal heart rhythms, that are excluded from the settlement. Many of their cases continue.