Vioxx Lawyer

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Arthritis is one of the most commonly occurring ailments among older individuals. As one ages, cartilage surrounding the joints begins to wear down. Eventually, the cartilage deteriorates completely, exposing bare bone. When bones at the joints rub together, movement is impaired and the individual suffers from debilitating pain. Chronic conditions can be crippling as well, and patients must endure constant bouts of inflammation and agony. There are surgical procedures available to cope with the condition, but for most, prescription drugs offer more feasible solutions, particularly for older individuals less likely to recuperate quickly from surgery. In order to avoid being bedridden, patients rely on medications to alleviate their pain. While it is the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) responsibility to monitor and approve the drugs for sale on the market, it is not uncommon for drugs to have hazardous long-term effects that remain hidden. Vioxx is an example of a drug that posed life-threatening complications to thousands of patients.

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., makers and marketers 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 first sold on the market. It is estimated that nearly 20 million people had regularly been using the painkiller before speculations arose concerning its safety.

Soon after its release, people began to experience serious unintended consequences of the drug, including heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, high blood pressure, urinary tract infections, and gastrointestinal hemorrhaging. Some even suffered from kidney failure and liver diseases. Most doctors, however, did not link these complications to Vioxx until much later. Consequently, the FDA required Merck to make changes to warning labels on packaging materials, allowing individuals to take heightened precautions when using the drug. Nevertheless, life-threatening side effects continued to surface, and the FDA was forced to take further actions.

Representatives from the FDA met with executives from Merck, at which point a presentation of studies revealed shocking information. Statistics revealed that when dosages of Vioxx are increased, dangerous heart complications are likely to occur in most patients. The FDA felt that this information had not sufficiently been presented on medication bottles and in studies reviewed by the FDA before approval of the drug. Many also noticed inconsistencies relative to the data presented. Some studies showed very high chances of experiencing cardiovascular problems with extended use of Vioxx, while others showed no correlation at all. Concerns addressed at this meeting left many questioning the company's scientific methods. As a result of these speculations, the FDA ordered Merck to submit all research directly to the agency. Moreover, they began monitoring clinical study processes more closely. They also began financing additional studies of the drug.

The results of these outside studies were shocking. Statistics showed that patients were 50 percent more likely to suffer from cardiovascular problems after taking this drug than from any other painkiller on the market. Vioxx was responsible for thousands of deaths and heart-related disorders. Worse, it appeared as though Merck had deliberately misled the FDA by withholding data and providing a misrepresentation of the drug. At the time, it is estimated that the company had generated over $2 billion dollars in sales, so the motive for this fraudulence was clear. Nonetheless, Merck soon faced over $4.85 billion dollars in legal settlements as a result of the personal injury, product liability, and fraudulence cases filed against them.

If you believe you have suffered from an illness or related injury from your use of Vioxx, compensation may be available. Thousands of legal suits against this pharmaceutical company are still pending, and you still have time to take matters into your own hands. Locating a qualified pharmaceutical attorney is your first step to achieving a financial reward. Although this sum can never reverse damages to your health or that of a loved one, it may cover medical expenses you have been forced to endure. Moreover, the compensation you receive may help recover lost wages. Lastly, filing a legal suits helps to ensure Merck & Co. faces the consequences they deserve.