MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – Pharmaceutical company Merck says it will start cutting checks next month for former users of its withdrawn painkiller Vioxx. Merck announced plans today to fund the $4.8 billion settlement involving about 50,000 lawsuits.

Montgomery attorney Jere Beasley, whose firm helped negotiate the settlement, says it’s an important day for users of Vioxx.

More than 48,000 of the roughly 50,000 people who claimed injuries have agreed to participate in the settlement program.

Beasley says that large numbers shows the settlement was a good agreement.

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