Tuesday, December 12, 2006
An article in the New York Times -- Merck Reports Progress on Overhaul, by the Associated Press -- provides an update on the Vioxx litigation:
The company provided an update on the mounting litigation over Vioxx, the former blockbuster painkiller it pulled from the market on Sept. 30, 2004 after its own research showed Vioxx doubled the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Merck said Tuesday it now faces about 27,200 personal injury lawsuits over Vioxx, representing about 45,900 plaintiff groups, plus 265 potential class action suits.
Another 14,000 plaintiffs have entered agreements with Merck suspending the time limit for lawsuits. Suits by more than 3,000 plaintiff groups have been dismissed, although about two-thirds of those may be refiled later.
So far, Merck has reserved nearly $1.6 billion for its legal defense costs but has resisted setting aside any money to pay jury awards or settlements with plaintiffs.