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Thursday 26th April 2018

Merck settles in Vioxx suit

13th November 2007

US-based Merck & Co is to pay out a total of US$4.85 billion in settlement over its arthritis drug Vioxx, which many claim caused heart failure in users.


The maker of Vioxx said it would set up a fund to compensate victims, who must prove they had suffered serious illness within a two-week period after taking the drug.

Claimants will only receive payment from the fund if these conditions are met, and the manufacturer has not admitted liability.

The settlement may bring to a close more than 26,000 legal compensation claims against Merck.

Users said the company failed to give adequate warning of possible side-effects of the painkiller, which is used in the treatment of arthritis and other conditions.

Merck says it voluntarily withdrew the drug after new research suggested a link to increased incidence of heart attacks and stroke in September 2004.

It continues to deny accusations that it was negligent in its handling of the potential risks surrounding the use of Vioxx.

Merck said it thought its proposed settlement was a good one, and should put an end to years of lawsuits.

Around 95% of compensation claims related to Vioxx will be settled, but not the 260 class action suits currently under way.

To qualify for a cash payment from the compensation fund, claimants must prove that they became seriously ill after buying at least 30 Vioxx pills.

Only residents of the United States are included in the package, and at least 85% of them must agree to the settlement for it to go ahead.

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