Arizona Vioxx Lawyer

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Arthritis is the painful stiffening in certain parts of the body that causes a person to have trouble moving around. Most types of arthritis cause swelling or pain in joints, such as the knee or elbow. It is a condition that affects millions of Americans, limiting the activities they can pursue and impacting their quality of life. Arthritis pain ranges from moderate to intense.

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, weight loss, physical activity, and medication, or a combination of these elements.

Around ten years ago, a new group of arthritis 'miracle pills' were created called COX-2 inhibitors; these drugs were considered non-inflammatory anti-steroidal drugs (NAISDs). COX-2 inhibitors were supposed to relieve arthritis pain without the negative side effects, such as stomach ulcers and bleeding, associated with other arthritis medicines on the market. Among the new generation of arthritis medicine was Vioxx, manufactured by Merck & Co. Vioxx was thought to be a blessing for millions of arthritis sufferers worldwide, including two million people in the United States. In truth, Vioxx turned out have very serious health risks.

How can this happen?

To release a medication for distribution and use, a pharmaceutical manufacturing company must perform a wide range of tests on the medicine before release. Tests are done and clinical trials are conducted to discover the potential side effects of the drug, as well as to measure the benefits of the drug. The FDA holds manufacturers to high standards. Unfortunately, all potential side effects and issues associated with a medication may not arise during the mandatory testing phases and clinical trials. There are times when, post-release of a drug, adverse and potentially serious affects arise. These may occur during follow-up clinical trials, or as the result of patients becoming seriously ill, or even dying, as the result of a medication. In such instances, the pharmaceutical company and the FDA will typically review the causes and conditions, potentially recalling the drug.

This is what happened in 2004 with the Merck company. Prior to the release of Vioxx, the clinical trials of the drug did not show side effects associated with cardiovascular complications, including heart attacks and strokes. However, 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, at which point Merck issued the recall of the drug. At the time Merck issued the Vioxx recall, approximately 27,000 people had suffered serious or deadly heart complications.

In addition to Merck's findings after the release of Vioxx, a number of reports were also issued by research facilities, including the University of Pennsylvania, showing a close relationship between the use of Vioxx and an increased chance of having a heart attack. These findings had actually been reported prior to the release of the medication. However, the drug was still approved and released to the public.

What happens as a result of these findings?

When the 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.

If you or someone you love was the victim of adverse side effects, such as a heart attack or stroke, in connection with the use of Vioxx, you may be entitled to compensation. Speak with an Arizona based lawyer who is familiar with pharmaceutical litigation and personal injury claims. An attorney who is familiar with Arizona laws regarding statutes of limitations, personal injury claims, and wrongful death suits will be able to guide you through the legal process and help you get compensation for your injury or loss.