On September 30, 2004, Merck Pharmaceuticals voluntarily withdrew the drug Vioxx from the market. The withdrawal came after the conclusion of a long clinical study to test the effectiveness of the drug on the reduction of colon polyps. During that study, it became clear that people on the drug for more than eighteen months were at twice the risk for heart attacks, strokes, and other serious cardiovascular events.
Released in 1999, Vioxx is part of a class of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAID). NSAID's work by inhibiting specific proteins called cyclo-oxygenase 1 and 2 (COX 1 & 2). Inhibiting these proteins helps control pain and inflammation it the body. Vioxx works by focusing on the inhibition of the Cox-2 protein. In some instances the inhibition of the Cox-2 protein causes the platelets in the blood to become sticky. The platelets collect together and in turn cause blood clots, seriously disrupting the cardiovascular system. Merck's recent studies have confirmed this type of negative side effect in Vioxx.
During Merck's VIGOR (Vioxx Gastrointestinal Outcomes Research) study in 1999, they discovered that risk of death and cardiovascular events with Vioxx was considerably higher than other drugs in the same group. The APPROVe (Adenomatous Polyp Prevention on VIOXX) study in 2004 confirmed the deleterious effects Vioxx had on those who took the drug for more than eighteen (18) months.
Merck, however, downplayed the studies and continued to market the drug. Not until the most recent study did Merck decide to withdraw the drug. Sales of Vioxx worldwide reached $2.5 billion last year alone. If you or someone you know has been a victim of a Vioxx related injury, contact an attorney for a consultation.
Many class actions have been filed across the United States. Class actions are lawsuits where one plaintiff represents the interests of many. However, we feel that our clients' interests should not be combined with the interests of others. Each person's case is unique, and we feel that these cases should be handled on an individual basis. If you have suffered a heart attack, stroke, pulmonary embolism, or experienced a serious blood clot, call 1-800-310-2222.