Vioxx Class Action Update-December 13, 2005

On Monday, December 12, 2005 the Judge in the first federal VIOXX case in the United States declared a mistrial because the jurors remained deadlocked after a lengthy deliberation. U.S. District Court Judge Eldon E. Fallon declared that the undecided, nine-member jury deliberated for a “reasonable” length of time and therefore he dismissed them. As a result, there will likely be a re-trial of this case, known as Richard Irvin v. Merck & Co. Inc.

Other than the end result, this case had two other aspects which were noteworthy. First, the New England Journal of Medicine released a statement expressing their concern about the result of the study it had published in 2000, which noted there may be an elevated risk of heart attacks in people taking VIOXX. This study had reviewed data gathered as part of another study known as VIOXX Gastrointestinal Outcomes Research Study (VIGOR) and the New England Journal of Medicine recently learned that relevant data on cardiovascular outcomes had been deleted from the VIGOR manuscript prior to its submission to the New England Journal of Medicine. In particular, three incidents of heart attacks in people taking VIOXX were allegedly removed from the data submitted to the journal.

Second, Judge Fallon of the Eastern district of Louisiana denied Merck’s request to limit potentially damaging testimony about VIOXX short-term risks and therefore opened the door to Plaintiff’s counsel to argue that some scientific data shows that VIOXX may pose a cardiovascular risk to even those using the drug short-term, such as just a few weeks.

While the effect of these cases is unknown on the Canadian Class Action, we will continue to monitor their progress. In the meantime, we are continuing to work with a group of the leading law firms throughout Canada to seek carriage of a National Class Action against Merck & Co. Inc. In fact, the next scheduled hearing for this Motion is at the end of January 2006. If successful, our group will have control over how the National Class Action will proceed, subject to the Court’s discretion.

If you believe you have a potential claim against the makers of VIOXX, please contact our office immediately if you have not already done so. You may call (204) 947-1456 or fill out the form entitled “Questionnaire for Potential Claimants” on this website.

For those who have already contacted our office, please note that we will be posting updates on this website from time to time to ensure that you have up-to-date information and that your general questions can be answered. If you have questions that cannot be answered by reading the materials on this website, please contact (204) 947-1456 or email us at:

swilder@wilderwilder.com
mmaruca@wilderwilder.com