A lawsuit by arthritis sufferers who blamed heart attacks or strokes on the anti-inflammatory drug Vioxx has been fast-tracked.

The Australian subsidiary of the US firm Merck agreed to drop technical challenges that could have seen the legal action take years to resolve.

Merck Sharp and Dohme also agreed the lawsuit could be transferred from the Victorian Supreme Court to the Federal Court. Around 600 people from across Australia have joined a class action over Vioxx and they will all be represented by Slater & Gordon.

The law firm's special counsel, Richard Meeran, said the developments meant the lawsuit would be handled more quickly. "We are encouraged by recent US verdicts, which confirm our original assessment that Vioxx was a defective product and that Merck was negligent and liable to compensate people injured by this product," Mr. Meeran said.

"An aspect highlighted by the US cases is the company's marketing strategy of minimising the significance of research that had cast serious doubt about the drug's cardiovascular safety."

Mr. Meeran said large punitive damages awards had been made in the US for the conduct. About 2000 Australians suffered cardiovascular conditions caused by clots in their arteries after taking Vioxx.

It is believed 250,000 Australians used the drug and it was withdrawn from sale in 2004 because of safety fears. A writ alleges Merck failed to warn that an ingredient of Vioxx significantly increased the risk of arterial thrombosis and cardiovascular conditions.



We're here to help!

We live by our creed of "helping those who need it most" and have helped thousands of clients get the justice they desperately needed and deserved. If you feel you have a case or just have questions please contact us for a free consultation. There is no risk and no fees unless we win for you.

Fields marked    may be required for submission.
  1. I'm an attorney

Merck to pay $830 million to settle investors’ Vioxx...

Merck announced Friday it will pay $830 million to settle investor complaints accusing it of committing...

Merck to pay nearly $1 billion for illegal marketing...

American pharmaceutical company Merck, Sharp & Dohme has agreed to pay $950 million to resolve criminal...

Merck paying more than 3,100 vioxx death claims

Merck & Co. is paying claims by the families of more than 3,100 users of its Vioxx painkiller who...

Settlement limits insurers' claims in Vioxx deal

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- Former Vioxx users getting part of a $4.85 billion settlement ending most personal...

Persistence pays in Vioxx litigation

Plaintiffs get close to $5B, but Merck could have done a lot worse. Attorneys who spent nearly one year...

Vioxx settlement payments to begin in August

Merck & Co., manufacturer of Vioxx, announced it will make the first payment of $500 million on Aug....

I never dreamed how much this would mean to me

I received another check today, much to my surprise. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I never dreamed how much this would mean to me in my golden years, as I have had hearing problems for years and needed to update my hearing aids, but with a limited income, found that was impossible. I now have the best hearing aids that I have ever had, thanks to you fighting so hard on my behalf.

—Gladys