Mississippi Vioxx Lawyer

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On September 30, 2004, Merck and Company issued a worldwide recall of the prescription drug Vioxx. Vioxx was a prescription drug that was categorized as a COX-2 inhibitor, which is an anti-inflammatory drug much like ibuprofen and naproxen. Vioxx was thought to be a wonder pill that was prescribed to treat the symptoms of arthritis, painful menstrual cramps and acute pain in adults. However, after four years on the market, Merck & Co., Inc. made the decision to issue a recall independent of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The decision was made based on a study that revealed chronic users of Vioxx, after a year and a half of use, were at an increased chance of having a heart attack, stroke or blood clot. The Food and Drug Administration quickly issued a public safety warning, but regrettably it was already too late for many. Vioxx had been linked to approximately 27,000 heart attacks and sudden deaths before it was pulled from the market.

Several studies linked the use of Vioxx to cardiovascular events such as a heart attack or stroke. The University of Pennsylvania warned that Vioxx users showed an increase in the chance of having a heart attack. This warning was made before the drug was even approved for public use. After the drug's approval, the reputable New England Journal of Medicine reported similar studies, but it still took four years for Merck & Co. to pull the drug from the shelf. It is believed that the pharmaceutical manufacturer, even though Vioxx was proven to be dangerous, was involved in a game of numbers that was not without serious consequences. Vioxx prescriptions generated an estimated two billion dollars in yearly profits. Unfortunately, at the time of the recall, two million prescriptions had been written in the United States alone, and many more patients worldwide had been prescribed the medication. Most of the deaths may have been prevented if the company had been more vested in the safety of its consumers than in their profit margin.

How could 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 run 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 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 and independent researchers 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.

What should you do if you were affected by Vioxx?
If you were prescribed Vioxx to treat your arthritis, or another condition for which Vioxx was approved, and you experienced a heart attack, stroke, or other serious cardiovascular complication as the result, you may be entitled to compensation. Pharmaceutical manufacturers, even after a drug has been approved by the FDA, are liable for damages suffered as a result of their drugs.

A lawyer who is based in Mississippi and is familiar with pharmaceutical litigation, personal injury claims, or wrongful death lawsuits will be able to assist you. He or she will guide you through the legal process and determine if you have a viable claim. In the event that you do, your attorney will help you pursue compensation and restitution from Merck.