Rhode Island Vioxx Lawyer

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Millions of people in the United States suffer from 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; it affects 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.

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.

Many pharmaceutical manufacturers have sought to develop medications to treat arthritis. In 1999, Merck & Co., Inc. released a medication that was found to be very effective in reducing the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also approved the release of Vioxx to treat menstrual cramps, signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, and acute pain in adults.

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 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. To address this public safety issue, which could have potentially affected hundreds of thousands of people taking the medication, the company issued a voluntary recall of Vioxx, as well as a public safety alert.

The Merck company, to address the serious health risks associated with Vioxx, set aside funding in the event that victims pursued litigation. Many individual lawsuits, as well as class action lawsuits, have since been made against Merck, seeking restitution for the victims of cardiovascular complications associated with Vioxx.

In the event that you or a loved one suffered from cardiovascular problems, such as a heart attack or stroke, as a result of taking Vioxx to treat your arthritis, it is highly recommended that you contact an attorney. An attorney who is familiar with Rhode Island laws, statutes of limitations, and pharmaceutical litigation will be able to help you. He or she will determine whether or not you have a viable case; in the event that you do, he or she will do is possible to help you seek compensation for medical bills, as well as pain and suffering.