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Jeff Rasansky
Jeff Rasansky
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Vioxx to begin Settlements

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For those who claim Vioxx was responsible for their heart attacks, settlement packages are in the mail. Many of you may remember that Vioxx was removed from the market after it was linked to heart failure and a subsequent settlement ($4.85 billion) between Merck and Co. and plaintiffs’ lawyers was reached.

The number of eligible and registered claimants is almost 50,000, which makes up over 97 percent of the claimants who are actually eligible. According to the Associated Press, Merck waived its right to walk away from the settlement on August 4 and, over the next two days, deposited $500 million in an escrow account and gave a letter of credit to cover payments to the claimants.

The amount of these settlement packages can range from $5,000 to a couple of million dollars, and the federal government is arranging to be reimbursed for care provided to Vioxx victims under Medicare and Medicaid. Merck is up against over 200 potential class action suits.

It was a long four years after Merck took Vioxx off the market. This led to tens of thousands of lawsuits. The Vioxx case has since tarnished Merck’s reputation within the industry.