Make us your home page
Instagram

Vioxx settlement payments start in August

People who suffered heart attacks while taking Vioxx could receive a partial settlement check as early as next month.

Merck & Co., the maker of Vioxx, said more than 97 percent of nearly 50,000 claimants agreed to terms of the $4.85-billion settlement announced last fall. The fund will be used to settle claims of people who had legal action pending against the drugmaker and suffered cardiac arrest, heart attack or stroke as a result of taking Vioxx.

Merck pulled Vioxx off the market in September 2004 after its research showed the arthritis drug doubled the risk of heart attack and stroke. That triggered thousands of lawsuits from patients and their families. Though Merck won most of the legal cases that went to court, its costs mounted to more than $1.53-billion. In November, it agreed to the settlement plan, one of the largest civil settlements ever.

Reflecting its success in court, Merck was able to set strict criteria for the awards. Lawyers participating in the settlement also had to recommend the deal to all their clients and stop representing anyone who wanted to continue to pursue a lawsuit.

According to terms of the agreement, those eligible had to have medical and drug records showing they used Vioxx for more than 12 months, during which time they died or had a heart attack or ischemic stroke.

Joseph Saunders, a lawyer in Pinellas Park who represents about 30 Vioxx cases, estimated that only 25 to 30 percent of the claimants will qualify for a share of the settlement. "And the amounts people receive will depend on how many are disqualified," he said.

Q&A: Vioxx

Can I still file a lawsuit?

The statute of limitations in Florida will expire Sept. 30, 2008, four years after the painkiller was removed from the market. Parties who believe they have a claim should speak with a lawyer.

When will the checks arrive?

Merck & Co. said eligible claimants who signed up for the settlement by March 31 and allege a heart attack or sudden cardiac death could receive an initial payment of 40 percent of the anticipated total by the end of August. People alleging that Vioxx caused an ischemic stroke will begin seeing partial payments in February.

Vioxx settlement payments start in August 07/17/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 23, 2008 3:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa Bay home prices still climbing, though more slowly

    Real Estate

    Tampa Bay home prices rose again in June, although the once-torrid pace of increases shows signs of slowing.

    This three story home in Port Richey's gated Harborpointe sold for $1.15 million in June, making it the top sale in Pasco County for the month.
[Penny Perry]
  2. Pinellas licensing board asks Sen. Jack Latvala for $500,000 loan

    Local Government

    The troubled Pinellas County agency that regulates contractors wants Sen. Jack Latvala to help it get a $500,000 lifeline from the state to stay afloat.

    State Sen . Jack Latvala, R- Clearwater, is being asked to help the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board get $500,000 from the state so it can stay open beyond February.  [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  3. Clearwater mansion that sold at record price is back on the market for $19.75 million

    Real Estate

    CLEARWATER — Less than four months after it sold for a record $11.18 million, the waterfront Century Oaks estate is back on the market — for $19.75 million.

    The historic Century Oaks estate overlooking Clearwater Harbor, which sold for $11.18 million four months ago, is back on the market.
[Courtesy: Coastal Properties Group
]

  4. Tampa Bay gas prices jump nearly 10 cents over the week

    Markets

    Gas prices in Tampa Bay are on the rise again.

    Tampa Bay gas prices jumped nearly 10 cents over the past week to an average of $2.15 per gallon. | [Times file photo]
  5. Water Hogs: During drought, hundreds of Tampa Bay homes guzzled a gallon of water a minute

    Drought

    When Amalie Oil president Harry Barkett plunked down $6.75-million for his Bayshore Boulevard mansion, he picked up 12.5 bathrooms, a pool, a hot tub, an elevator and a deck bigger than some one-bedroom apartments.

    During one of the worst droughts in the Tampa Bay region's history, hundreds of houses used more than a gallon of water a minute. ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times