Merck settlement for Vioxx
On November 10, 2007, the New York Times reported that the investment community considered the $5 billion settlement of Vioxx lawsuits to be a victory for the company. The painkiller Vioxx was pulled from the market after it was shown to contribute to the likelihood of myocardial infarcts and strokes. The settlement will occur only if 85 percent of the 27,000 pending lawsuit victims accept it, which the Federal Court apparently considers likely. News of the settlement pushed Merck's stock value up.
Merck had won about 2/3 of the cases that had been tried, including 8 of the last 10. Where it had lost, however, it had also been compelled to pay significant punitive damages. To receive a settlement, victims will have to prove that they actually suffered a stroke or heart attack within 14 days of taking Vioxx for at least 30 days. It will be difficult for Michigan resident victims to share in the recovery because the Michigan courts have granted immunity to any drug manufacturer whose product is approved by the FDA.