Alaska Vioxx Lawyer

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What is Arthritis?

Arthritis can be a debilitating condition. It affects people's joints and their movement, breaking down the cartilage around bones in joints. When cartilage is broken down, bones can rub against each other, creating stiffness, pain, and difficulty moving.

Osteoarthritis affects the largest percentage of people with an arthritis condition and nearly 27 million Americans. This type of arthritis typically affects only certain joints, such as hips, hands, knees, the lower back, and the neck. When people have arthritis, it can significantly impact the activities they are able to do, from routine tasks to work and more, as well as their quality of life.

What Causes Arthritis and How is It Treated?

Arthritis may be caused by a variety of factors. Causes linked to the development of arthritis include heredity, being overweight, joint injury, overuse of certain joints, physical inactivity, nerve injury, and aging. There are a variety of means by which arthritis is treated, from physical and occupational therapy to the use of heat or ice packs, exercise, physical activity, and medication, or a combination of these elements.

What is Vioxx?

Vioxx was a prescription drug released by pharmaceutical leader Merck & Co. in 1999. Vioxx was released as a new generation of arthritis medicine that supposedly relieved arthritis pain without the harmful side effects, including stomach ulcers and bleeding, of other arthritis medications on the market. This new generation of prescription drugs were known as COX-2 inhibitors, and were grouped in non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NAISDs). They were related to over the counter medicines such as naproxen and ibuprofen, which are also NAISDs. Vioxx was used to treat arthritis pain, acute pain in adults and pain caused from menstrual cramps.

Prior to the release of Vioxx, Merck reported that the clinical trials of the drug did not show side effects associated with cardiovascular complications, including heart attacks and strokes. However, there were studies performed by reputable organizations that found that there were links between Vioxx and cardiovascular complications. Unfortunately, Vioxx was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration and was released for worldwide distribution even after these studies were published.

Upon release of the drug, wide distribution, and follow-up clinical trials, the company discovered that there was indeed a link between Vioxx and an increased risk of heart attack and stroke in patients taking the medication. To address this public safety issue, the drug was recalled. At the time the recall was made, an estimated two million people had been prescribed Vioxx in the United States and approximately 27,000 people had suffered serious injury or died as a result of taking Vioxx.

Legal Recourse

Due to product liability law, manufacturers are accountable for misleading their customers. As a result, many people have taken Merck to court and won compensation for Vioxx-related health problems. Product liability is unique, so it is important that, if you have experienced serious side effects resulting from a prescription to Vioxx, you should consult a lawyer who is well-versed about the drug and its effects. You may be entitled to compensation to recover medical expenses associated with health complications, as well as pain and suffering you may have endured.

When the Vioxx recall was announced, many lawsuits were filed against the Merck company, from individual lawsuits to class action cases, seeking compensation for medical expenses, as well as pain, suffering, and mental anguish in conjunction with the serious affects of Vioxx. In 2005 a Texas woman filed and won the first lawsuit against Merck. The jury found the pharmaceutical company to have been negligent in the death of her husband; the company was ordered to pay the claimant $253.4 million in damages.

In the event that you or someone you know suffered from the serious side effects associated with Vioxx, it is recommended that you speak with an attorney who is well-versed in Alaska laws, as well as pharmaceutical litigation. There may be statutes of limitations to bring up a case regarding Vioxx, so it is important to speak to an attorney as soon as possible.