Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010
Merck & Co. has made a final $4.1 billion payment to its
Vioxx settlement fund. According to an Associated Press report,
final payouts to former Vioxx users or their survivors should be
made by the end of June.
Vioxx was approved for use in 1999, and quickly became a
bestseller for Merck, with annual sales of $2.5 billion; however,
the painkiller was pulled off the market in 2004 after an analysis
of patients using Vioxx linked the defective drug to more than
27,000 heart attacks or sudden cardiac deaths in the U.S. from 1999
through 2003. The withdrawal prompted thousands of product
liability lawsuits that claimed Merck didn't properly warn doctors
and patients of the drug's risks.