Monday, November 13, 2006

Vioxx Class Action Certified in Canada

A judge in Canada has authorized a class action of Vioxx personal injury claims, according to this Nov. 11 story in The Globe and Mail -- Vioxx Class Action Allowed:

Merck & Co. Inc. suffered a setback in its Vioxx defence strategy as a Quebec court denied a company request to hear individual lawsuits from patients and instead granted plaintiffs class-action status.

Mr. Justice André Denis of the Quebec Superior Court said the decision would avoid thousands of separate legal actions. He narrowed the scope of the first personal injury class-action lawsuit in the mushrooming litigation against Vioxx to about 4,000 former users between 1999 and 2004, excluding those who took the medicine and didn't claim injuries from taking it.

The class representatives are Gerald Sigouin and Roger Ste-Marie, both of whom allege that they suffered cardiac problems after taking Vioxx.

The class certification decision contrasts with the treatment of the litigation in the United States, where no Vioxx personal injury class action has been certified.  Individual rather than aggregate treatment of the litigation has been a cornerstone of Merck's strategy in the Vioxx litigation.  The only Vioxx class action that has been certified in the U.S., as far as I know, is an action for economic damages by third-party payors in New Jersey Superior Court.


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