Vioxx

Vioxx is a pain-reliever medicine designed to treat arthritis and acute pain. It is manufactured by the pharmaceutical giant Merck. Concerns about the increased risks of heart attack , stroke , blood clots , and sudden death associated with long-term Vioxx use prompted Merck to withdraw Vioxx from the worldwide market on September 30, 2004.

Cardiovascular Risks of Vioxx

Many individuals are concerned that their use of Vioxx before the 2004 recall caused them cardiovascular damage that could result in a heart attack or stroke. Indeed, lawsuits and class actions based on allegations of serious Vioxx-induced side effects and deaths now number in the thousands. Merck is alleged to have rushed Vioxx through the FDA approval process and onto the market before all of the possible risks of the drug were fully investigated. The FDA’s performance has also been called into question.

A Rush to the Market

Vioxx was approved by the FDA as a treatment for osteoarthritis, acute pain in adults, and menstrual pain in 1999. More than 40 million Americans suffer from arthritis, and immediately after Vioxx was approved by the FDA, it was distributed very widely and very quickly in the U.S. Merck conducted a massive advertising campaign for Vioxx, and more than 30,000 pharmacies received Vioxx with two weeks of its FDA approval.

Vioxx was touted as a great medical advancement that could help arthritis and acute-pain sufferers who could not tolerate aspirin- or ibuprofen-based products because of the gastrointestinal problems that such products can cause. A significant selling point of Vioxx was its apparent lack of gastro- intestinal effects.

FDA Warnings about Misleading Advertising

Within a couple of years after the introduction of Vioxx, the FDA called upon Merck to change their Vioxx advertising, safety information, and efficacy claims. A 2001 FDA warning letter told Merck to stop certain marketing methods because Merck’s claims for Vioxx were “false, lacking in fair balance, or otherwise misleading in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and applicable regulations.”

Eventually, studies demonstrated a link between Vioxx and severe cardiovascular effects and heart- related deaths. Merck voluntarily took Vioxx off the market, and American consumers’ faith in the FDA as an agency that would protect them from dangerous products was further shaken.

Vioxx litigation against Merck has already resulted in multi-million dollar verdicts and can be expected to continue for decades.

Freese and Goss: Vioxx Attorneys to Help You

If you or a loved one have taken Vioxx and experienced any side effects, please contact Freese and Goss today.  Attorneys are available my phone, e-mail or by clicking here.

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