Merck Fighting Tooth and Nail over Vioxx


In a groundbreaking strategy, Merck has decided to fight every single case of litigation over its drug Vioxx.

When Vioxx was pulled from the market, speculations abounded that Merck’s liability could reach $50 billion and even around the possible demise of the drug giant. However, Merck’s strategy of fighting the cases one by one and refusing to acknowledge fault via a blanket settlement, has made a lot of hay for the firm.

Merck has won nine of the 14 product liability trials that have been resolved. They believe their strategy is unequivocally successful. The number of cases pending has decreased steadily as cases are dismissed or dropped, but still stands at over 45,200 cases, with 14,450 cases on hold.

With this many cases pending, the cost of this litigation continues to soar. So far, Merck has spent $1.04 billion in defending the cases, with $828 million in reserve, while plaintiffs are spending $650,000 to $1.5 million per case. At this rate, Merck could easily expend its $50 billion in projected liability on lawyer’s fees.

In response, plaintiffs’ lawyers are trying a new strategy of their own: working together. Unlike the traditional image of lawyers as rugged individualists with a devil-take-the-hindmost attitude, law firms are working jointly to try and ensure victory for their clients, going so far as assembling a handbook for use by lawyers in trying to win Vioxx cases. Although industry advocates praise Merck’s victories, lawyers dismiss them, saying the firm won mostly where expected, where plaintiffs had other cardiac risk factors in addition to taking Vioxx.

Although the statute of limitations on new Vioxx cases has expired, new drug side effects are coming to light all the time. If you or someone you love has suffered a serious and unanticipated side effect as a result of taking a prescription or non-prescription drug, contact to get in touch with an experienced drug side-effects lawyer.