There are numerous news reports about how Vioxx victims overseas are getting energized after the recent verdict in the US. It is not easy suing an American company if you do not live in the US. Vioxx, for instance, was sold in over 80 countries, according to Merck and was marketed under the brand name Ceoxx in some countries. However, we are only hearing of Vioxx lawsuits from about half a dozen countries - most notably, New Zealand, Canada, UK, France, Italy, Brazil and Israel. That does not mean that people did not die there. And now more and more Vioxx victims are coming forward.
Merck was quite aggressive in marketing the drug but almost all countries except US and New Zealand ban direct-to-consumer advertising. It is mostly the Americans who are naive enough to actually talk to their doctor about a drug when a drug company says, "Talk to your doctor about XYZ." That is exactly what Carol Ernst did to her husband who died within months of taking the drug.
Vioxx entered the UK market in June 1999 and was the most popular Cox-2 inhibitor in Europe. In the UK, after 13 months of launch, expenditure on coxibs accounted for 14 per cent of spend on traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID). Uptake of the COX-2 was been much slower in the UK market compared with the U.S. market.
Until its withdrawal, Vioxx was used by approximately 400,000 people in the UK and it is estimated that about 2000 Britons are dead. Irwin Mitchell, Leigh Day & Co, one of the top 10 law firms in England and Wales, and Goodmans Solicitors are pursuing Vioxx claims on behalf of people who have suffered heart attacks, or who have seen their relatives die from heart attacks after taking Vioxx. The three firms involved are currently representing over 200 claimants and following the Texas judgment, it is expected that other Vioxx claims will soon come forward.
Related article: Charities in the UK received donations from Merck