Nevada Vioxx Lawyer

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Arthritis is a painful, sometimes debilitating disease that leaves individuals suffering from unpredictable bouts of inflammation. The most common types include Osteoarthritis, which is the most common form and develops when the cartilage breaks down at the joints, causing bone damage. Another common form is called Rheumatoid arthritis. This disease is characterized by inflammation of the joints. Both types of arthritis are agonizing and can be hereditary. While there is no cure for these diseases, there are medications available on the market that can make the pain more tolerable. Vioxx is an example of a pain medication that was frequently used to alleviate arthritis symptoms. However, had patients understood the side effects of Vioxx, they may not have been so quick to rely on the drug.

What is Vioxx?
Vioxx is a non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drug proven to significantly reduce pain associated with acute arthritis, menstrual cramps, and other acute disorders. Merck & Co., makers of Vioxx, released the drug in 1999, when it was officially approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after much delay. Merck & Co. took in over $2.5 billion dollars from the sales of Vioxx, all while individuals were beginning to experience adverse side effects from use of the drug.

Merck & Co.
Not long after the drug's release, people began suffering from unanticipated side effects. Strokes, heart attacks, and cardiac arrest were among the side effects that were occurring. However, the makers had not indicated that these risks were any higher than any other painkiller. As a result, patients continued to use the drug without knowing the severity of their actions. The FDA decided to contact Merck & Co., instructing them to modify the current warning label to make possible side effects more visible to users. The new label, however, did little help patients using the drug.

Although Merck & Co. ensured the FDA that data from clinical studies was authentic, it was also determined that the company had not used a placebo group in their study, insisting that to do so would have been unethical, since this group would receive no pain relief. Nevertheless, the FDA was skeptical of Merck's scientific methods, stating that it yielded inconclusive and inaccurate data. Consequently, a number of studies were conducted, but the methods were carefully monitored by the FDA. Merck was required to submit all data from these ongoing studies. Later presentations of the data caused suspicions, as some of the information presented suggested that patients stood a higher chance of cardiovascular diseases, while others did not. Also, at meetings with Merck presenters, the FDA questioned many of the company's methods of study, as well as the conclusion made to never use high doses of the drug, a fact that the medication's packaging materials did not fully indicate. Many speculate that Merck & Co. knew about the cardiovascular risks from use of Vioxx, but chose to withhold this information. As a result, the data the FDA received was a misrepresentation, and patients were at higher risks than had previously been thought. Not only did the public begin to view pharmaceutical companies with distrust, but they also felt the FDA was partially responsible for not taking tougher initiatives to prevent drug hazards.

Public Reactions
There have been numerous heart attacks and deaths as a result of this drug. Mainly, the drug poses the greatest risks to patients 65 and older and people taking the drug longer than 18 months. Later studies concluded that the drug's lethal side effects were present within the first two weeks. Merck's deceitful manipulation of data from clinical studies resulted in thousands of lawsuits against them. It is estimated that, by 2007, the company spent over $4.85 billion dollars in settlements for personal injury and product liability claims. Moreover, many of the claims were still pending at the time. Since then, Merck & Co. and the FDA have worked to improve drug safety regulations. The company voluntarily withdrew Vioxx from the market in 2004.

If you or a loved one suffered from cardiac arrest, a heart attack, or a stroke shortly after taking this drug, you make have grounds for filing a lawsuit. Contact an attorney with experience handling pharmaceutical claims or product liability cases. Your attorney should also have years of experience in the filed, ensuring your settlement covers all medical expenses you were forced to endure. Moreover, an attorney should be willing to listen to your claim, uphold you rights, and attempt to gain compensation for emotional distress you suffered from. According to Nevada state statute of limitations laws, you have only two (2) years to file a personal injury claim, and four (4) years for product liability. Although it may seem like a reasonable amount of time, filing a lawsuit is a lengthy process. Contact a lawyer as soon as possible to handle the legalities for you.