Consumer Alert: Latest News on VIOXX Recall

April 27, 2005

We are continuing to review claims related to the pain reliever VIOXX, which was withdrawn from the market on September 30, 2004 by Merck & Co., Inc. after a long-term clinical trial demonstrated an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. 

Launched by Merck in 1999, VIOXX is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (“NSAID”) known as a COX-2 inhibitor.  Due to Merck's aggressive promotion, VIOXX quickly became a hugely popular prescription pain reliever for the treatment of osteoarthritis, acute pain, menstrual pain and rheumatoid arthritis.  Worldwide sales of VIOXX in 2003 were $2.5 billion. 

The clinical trial leading to the withdrawal of VIOXX  was not the first to raise suspicion about the safety of VIOXX.  By early 2000, results from the VIGOR (VIOXX Gastrointestinal Outcomes Research) study also indicated an increased risk of cardiovascular events compared to another painkiller.  The FDA sent a warning letter to Merck in 2001 calling Merck's promotional campaign for VIOXX “false and misleading” because it minimized the potentially serious findings in the VIGOR trial.  Merck never put the cardiovascular risks associated with taking VIOXX in the Warning sections of the labeling for its multi-billion-dollar-a-year drug. 

On September 30, 2004, FDA issued a Public Advisory to inform patients of Merck's actions and to advise them to see their doctors for alternative medications.

Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. is actively involved in VIOXX litigation.  In fact, our attorney Roberta B. Walburn (who was a leader in the State of Minnesota's successful lawsuit against Big Tobacco) was recently appointed a Vice-Chair of the Plaintiffs' Science Committee in the consolidated federal VIOXX proceedings in United States District Court in Louisiana.  Ms. Walburn will also chair the Medical Communications/Learned Intermediary sub-committee.  The firm further represents dozens of clients from across Minnesota and the country who suffered life-altering injuries as a result of taking VIOXX. 

If you or your loved one has taken VIOXX and suffered a heart attack or stroke, you may want more information. Please feel free to contact Tara Sutton or send an e-mail by clicking here: contact us.

Related Articles: Vioxx Pulled Off the Market Because of Increased Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke

The articles on our website include some of the publications and papers authored by our attorneys, both before and after they joined our firm. The content of these articles should not be taken as legal advice. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views or official position of Robins Kaplan LLP.


Tara D. Sutton


Chair, National Mass Tort Group

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