Wisconsin Vioxx Lawyer

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Did you or someone you know take Vioxx before it was removed from the market? Have you had health problems since? If you've had problems with your heart or kidneys, and you took the drug, Vioxx could be to blame. Merck took Vioxx off the market because they discovered that it was responsible for heart attacks, strokes, and heart rhythm problems. Vioxx, and all medications in its class of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), also caused kidney disease.

The FDA approved Vioxx after an expedited process to treat osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and dysmennorhea (painful menstrual cramps). Merck aggressively marketed the drug, and in the four years it was available, Vioxx was used by 80 million people worldwide. The drug was a huge hit it generated about $2.5 billion in sales in just one year.

Shortly after Vioxx was released, Merck added safety labeling warning physicians to use caution when prescribing Vioxx to people who had heart disease. This was because data from one of their ongoing studies named VIGOR (Vioxx GI Outcomes Research) showed that people with pre-existing heart disease who took Vioxx had an increased risk of having a heart attack.

In September, 2004, Merck voluntarily recalled the drug after another study named APPROVe (Adenomatous Polyp Prevention on Vioxx) showed that people who took the drug for more than 18 months had an increased risk of heart attack, whether they had pre-existing heart disease or not.

Pharmaceutical companies don't always know everything about a drug when they begin to market it, and it seems that Merck acted responsibly by adding warning labels and then by recalling the drug. However, estimates show that from about 88,000 to 139,000 people had heart attacks because they were taking Vioxx, and around 30 to 40 percent of that number most likely died. The company should have been a little quicker to realize the effects of its product

It would be bad enough if the Vioxx debacle was all just a big mistake, but there is a lot of controversy about how Merck and the FDA handled the issue. Some people blame the FDA for approving Vioxx too quickly. Subscribers to that theory say that the expedited process allowed the drug to get to market before enough studies were performed. They argue that, if the studies had been completed, Vioxx would never have been marketed because they would have known how dangerous it is. In addition, an FDA researcher, David Graham, said that his research showed that Vioxx was dangerous, and the FDA tried to suppress it.

Some, including the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, blame Merck. They say Merck withheld data from the VIGOR study about formerly healthy people who had heart attacks and blood clots while using Vioxx. Merck stood by their decisions and said the disputed data was excluded properly and it didn't have any bearing on the outcome of the study. You can understand honest mistakes, but it seems that both Merck and the FDA hid information that would have kept Vioxx off the market.

Should you talk to a local lawyer in Wisconsin? If you or your loved one had a heart attack, heart rhythm problems, kidney problems, or died after taking Vioxx, you have encountered medical expenses, grief and suffering, lifestyle changes and loss, and it may help to talk to a lawyer. In addition to being good listeners and caring about people, lawyers know what your rights are and can advise you about what to do, and may be able to help you get some financial compensation for what you've gone through.