From the beginning, negotiating Plaintiffs’ counsel have been resolute in their conviction that the Vioxx Settlement Program should be fair and efficient. It is encouraging, therefore, to report that the settlement is progressing on schedule and that victims of Vioxx are being paid on a rolling basis. Since the settlement was finalized on November 9, 2008, over 48,000 claimants have enrolled in the Program. Of the 48,000 claimants, approximately 30,000 suffered heart attacks, and 18,000 suffered strokes.
The Claims Administrator continues to review claims packages to determine which claims qualify for compensation. Interim payments for those heart attack cases qualifying for compensation began in August 2008 and as of December 19, 2008, 4,585 claimants have been paid with over $393 million being distributed to victims of Vioxx and their families. Interim payments in heart attack cases will continue over the coming months with the final payment in all heart attack cases planned for summer 2009. Interim payments in stroke cases are scheduled to begin in February 2009 in accordance with the terms of the settlement agreement.
The Vioxx Settlement is the largest in the history of pharmaceutical litigation, and it is most encouraging for victims that the settlement program is also proving to be the most efficient mass tort settlement program created to date.
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