Vioxx is a cox-2 inhibitor drug, which was approved by the Food and Drugs Administration in May 1999. Manufactured and marketed by pharmaceutical giant, Merck, this drug was prescribed for osteoarthritis, menstrual cramps, and adult pain management. Unlike standard non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs, Vioxx could isolate and inhibit the cox-2 enzymes produced by the body without affecting the cox-1 enzyme. Other traditional NSAIDs inhibited both the cox-1 and cox-2 enzymes, and because the cox-1 enzyme is responsible for protecting the lining of the stomach, this often left patients with chronic gastric disorders.
The ability of Vioxx and other cox-2 inhibitors to reduce these gastric problems was greeted with excitement by the medical world and by patients. Vioxx was hailed some sort of wonder drug and after its approval was soon being prescribed to many people that suffered from various types of pain and from osteoarthritis. However, after just a few years on the market – and a huge patient base that netted Merck billions of dollars in profits – test results brought to light some very worrying side effects that resulted in Vioxx being recalled from the U.S. market altogether.
Recent investigations showed that although Vioxx reduced the risk of stomach problems in patients, it also significantly increased the risk of heart attacks and strokes. In September 2004 the manufacturer of Vioxx, Merck, voluntarily recalled the drug from the U.S. market in light of these test results. With the help of the FDA – the agency that approved the drug in 1999 – all stocks of the drug were recalled by Merck. However, this has left questions in the minds of many people – questions relating to why the drug was ever approved when it held such dangerous risks, and whether Merck officials had already been aware of these risks when the drug was approved.
At least a couple of journals have since made allegations that Merck had known about the potential risks associated with Vioxx all along, and rather than do something about it had continued to market the drug letting professionals and patients go on believing that it was a safe, reliable drug. In addition to this, these journals claimed to have proof that Merck knew about the dangers of Vioxx, in the form of documentation and internal e-mails. Following the publication of these allegations, Merck shares – which were already suffering after the announcement of the Vioxx recall – plummeted even further.
Another consequence that Merck has to face is the number of lawsuits that are now being filed. Vioxx lawyers are experiencing a mass influx of claims from patients that have experienced harm or injury through taking this cox-2 inhibitor. Patients that had been taking Vioxx prior to the recall are advised to seek medical advice as soon as possible, and this is to identify any damage that may have been caused as well as discuss alternative medication with their doctor. It is then advisable to seek legal assistance with a view to filing a claim against Merck for any damage that may have been caused by taking Vioxx.
Many law firms now employ specialist Vioxx lawyers that are experienced within the drugs litigation field. By seeking legal help from an experienced Vioxx lawyer you can increase your chances of filing a successful lawsuit. Your lawyer can quickly determine the viability of your case based on the information you provide along with any medical evidence. You can then work towards a solid lawsuit in order to claim compensation for medical costs that you may have incurred due to the effects of taking Vioxx, as well as for pain and suffering.
Most Vioxx lawyers are now offering a free initial consultation, so it will cost nothing to determine whether you have grounds to make a claim. Your lawyer can offer advice about the likely success of your Vioxx lawsuit and may even be able to indicate what sort of settlement figure you may be looking at based on past experience.
All your lawyer will need from you are the facts surrounding your case, and any medical evidence you can lay your hands on. This will help the lawyer to determine the viability of your case and will help to maximise your chances of a successful claim for compensation.
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