The Federalist Society

The Vioxx Litigation

March 2, 2007

Theodore H. Frank

On September 30, 2004 , Merck withdrew its painkiller Vioxx from the market because of a study showing a small but statistically signifi cant increase in risk of cardiovascular events from long-term usage of the drug. What had been a trickle of litigation over the drug became a flood. As of January, there were over 27,000 personal-injury lawsuits involving over 45,000 plaintiff groups, and another 265 putative class actions fi led.
Plaintiffs’ attorneys, it seems, are using the procedural class-action mechanism to achieve substantive advantages in litigation. The vast majority of the class actions Merck faces can be placed in one of four
categories....

The Vioxx Litigation  


The Federalist Society