Utah man loses Vioxx case
In a recent statement, the Merck CEO gloated over the fact that the company has not paid a single penny to any of the families of 60,000 Americans who have died after taking Vioxx, but who is to blame. After all, it seems that almost all victims are/were in poor health. “Heart attacks are, unfortunately, a leading cause of death in the United States and have multiple causes,” Merck's chief counsel, Kenneth Frazier said after the verdict came. In other words, with two out of three Americans being either obese/overweight (and suffering from all kinds of problems related to cholesterol, diabetes, heart diseases, etc.), it is simply easy to argue that the victim "would have suffered a heart attack whether he was taking VIOXX or not” as the company puts it.
The latest Vioxx victim to lose his case is Charles Laron "Ron" Mason of Salt Lake County, Utah, who is a typical American health-wise. To further complicate his case, he did not take the deadly drug a few days prior to his heart attack - maybe it helped him in the sense that he did not die but was not a help today in his case. While many independent experts have argued that Vioxx can kill even if taken rarely and the dangers may last for years, in this particular case, the revelation came to the surprise of everyone - including his own attorney - in the court.
The next federal lawsuit by Anthony Dedrick of Waynesboro, Tennesse is scheduled to go to trial in Fallon's court after Thanksgiving. A decision is expected soon in the cases brought by Rudolph Arrigale and Lawrence Appel.
Merck in a lot of trouble
The company is getting into more trouble for cheating on its taxes. A penalty of over $5 billion is expected. In a related development, Canadian Vioxx victims who had sued the company's subsidiary there won a victory when a judge in Quebec ruled that the lawsuit should proceed forward despite company's wish to try one case at a time. Plus, the company still faces over 20,000 lawsuits in the US alone.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Merck talks settlement but only in the future
Vioxx litigation is not progressing as fast as many victims would like to and Merck is enjoying the delay. Right now there is a trial going on California and the only one expected in 2006. While it is too early to say who is "winning" - Merck legal team apparently believes that they are winning since they are yet to hand out a single penny to any victim. On the contrary, they are boasting that some 3,000 cases are not going to trial because the victims were so discouraged with long delays and hassles, that they simply gave up.
Merck CEO Richard Clark, who replaced Raymond Gilmartin, who was fired for his incompetent handling of recall of the painkiller, boasts in an interview, "We know our strategy is right. It's case by case, day by day, jury by jury," Clark said. He adds, "This case by case (strategy) is going to take us years until we are satisfied that the case load is the proper case load. We're not there yet." In other words, a settlment is years away and only for those who have the patience or those who don't die from the permanent damage that the drug has caused to their health.
Experts put Merck's Vioxx liabilities into tens of billions of dollars. In a related development, Merck may also be forced to pay over $5 billion for cheating the IRS in taxes.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Update on California Vioxx lawsuits
The Vioxx litigation process is currently in a slow phase with not many cases being tried at this moment and it should be fairly quiet as we head into the holiday season.
Right now two California men - Rudolph Arrigale and Lawrence Appel - are arguing in a Los Angeles court that Vioxx was responsible for their heart attacks.
In a related development, IRS and the Government of Canada are charging that Merck used illegal accountring tricks to avoid paying taxes. It may need to pay as much as $5.5 billion in back taxes and penalties.