Vioxx Lawsuits

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Arthritis is a painful, sometimes debilitating disease that leaves individuals suffering from unpredictable bouts of inflammation of the joints. 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 condition 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 the drug, they may not have been so quick to rely on it.

Vioxx is considered to be a non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drug intended to reduce pain associated with all forms of arthritis. Enzymes, which are responsible for the synthesis of inflammation and pain, are blocked, and the individual suffering from the disorder soon feels relief. Merck & Co., the makers of the drug, assured the FDA that clinical testing results were authentic, and that the drug was harmless when correct dosages were administered. Soon after, the FDA approved the drug and in 1999 Vioxx was sold on the market. It is estimated that nearly 20 million people had regularly been using the painkiller before speculations arose concerning its safety.

Several medical studies have since proven that the chronic use of Vioxx has caused users to suffer from heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots. It was reported that over 30,000 people have died in the United States from prolonged use of Vioxx. Some of the most common side effects of Vioxx use include diarrhea, respiratory inflammation, respiratory infections, headaches, dizziness, vomiting, stomach pains, high blood pressure, back pain, urinary track infections, swelling in the legs and feet, and a general sense of fatigue.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a request for a modification of packaging warning labels. Merck complied with this request, but people still felt the effects of the devastating drug. Finally, the FDA decided to meet with representatives of Merck to review data from clinical studies that had been conducted. Dissatisfied with results, the FDA stated that it would monitor all future studies conducted by the company, and that results had to be submitted to them directly for review.

Many FDA representatives questioned the validity of the company's statements, saying that research data was inconsistent with warning labels. While some studies indicated severe cardiovascular risks, others did not. Also, there were inconsistencies concerning safe dosages of this medication. It was later speculated that Merck intentionally misled the public and the FDA by withholding critical medical data. They attempted to hide this information so that the sale of Vioxx would not be halted. At the time, the company had already made over $2 billion in sales from the product, so their motives were clear. Later, they would face settlement costs, which far surpassed this amount. Consequently, lawsuits proved to be too costly, and the company voluntarily withdrew Vioxx from the market in 2004.

Thousands of Vioxx-related personal injury and product liability claims are still pending. Legal suits send strong messages to large pharmaceutical giants, suggesting that malpractice is simply not tolerated. Hundreds of attorneys are qualified with the knowledge and caseload experience to take on your case. Your first step is to contact a firm and set up a consultation meeting. Be sure to gather medical records, doctor prescriptions, documents validating lost wages, and any other paperwork deemed viable for supporting your case in court. The flood of lawsuits encouraged the FDA to take stronger initiatives when testing the safety of new prescription drugs. It has also persuaded them to improve methods of study and monitor pharmaceutical companies more closely. Not only can you receive compensation for your losses, but you can prevent others from having to suffer the same complications in the future.