Pennsylvania Vioxx Lawyer

Call (888) 471-5989 to speak with a personal injury attorney.

What is arthritis?
Arthritis is medical condition that affects millions of Americans. Osteoarthritis, which is the most common type of arthritis, is characterized by the breakdown of cartilage in joints. As cartilage, which cushions the ends of bones and allows for easy movement of the joints, breaks down, the bones rub against each other. This can cause stiffness, pain, and loss of movement in the joint.

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. It can be a debilitating condition that limits people's activity and affects their quality of life, depending on the severity of the condition. Arthritis treatment often includes a combination of drugs, rest, physical activity, joint protection, heat or ice, and physical or occupational therapy.

What is Vioxx?
Vioxx is a medication that is included in a class (COX-2) of anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The medication was designed to treat the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis. It was also approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, acute pain, and pain and cramping associated with menstruation. Merck & Co, Inc. manufactured the drug and released it for world wide distribution in 1999.

How are drugs determined to be safe?
The FDA is the governing body over drug manufacturing and distribution in the United States. In order to be released and widely used, a pharmaceutical drug must go through a series of thorough testing, as well as clinical trials. During the testing phases and clinical trials, the intent is to identify potential risks, as well as the benefits, of a new drug. If the benefits of a drug are determined to outweigh the risks associated with it, the FDA will typically approve the release for marketing and distribution of the drug.

While pharmaceutical manufacturing companies do what they can to uncover all risks and side effects associated with a new drug, it is not always possible to do so during the testing and trial phases. Sometimes, the most serious risks and side effects are unearthed upon wide release, distribution, and use of the medication. These risks may not be uncovered until patients taking the medication have suffered serious injury, or died, as the result of the medication.

Vioxx Safety Concerns
During the initial testing phases and clinical trials for Vioxx, which included 5,000 participants, gastrointestinal issues were noted, including stomach ulcers and bleeding. These risks could be very serious and even life threatening. However, it was determined that these risks were no more serious than those associated with ibuprofen, which is widely used and is in the category of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Vioxx.

What was not discovered, although there have been reports that the company did indeed discover the issues and not report them, were associated cardiovascular risks, including heart attacks and strokes. However, in 2004, Merck instituted a worldwide voluntary recall of the Vioxx drug after data from post-release clinical trials indicated that there were connections between serious cardiovascular complications, including heart attacks, strokes, and death, and Vioxx.

Legal Recourse
At the time the Vioxx recall was issued, over 2 million people had been prescribed Vioxx. 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.

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 a Pennsylvania based lawyer who is familiar with pharmaceutical litigation and personal injury claims. An attorney who is familiar with Pennsylvania 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.