As most of those who receive the Report and are familiar with our firm know, our Mass Torts Section was closely involved in the Vioxx litigation against Merck. Led by Andy Birchfield, who now heads up the section, our team worked on behalf of thousands of people injured and killed by the once-blockbuster drug, which was promoted as a pain reliever but eventually proved linked to cardiovascular and thrombotic risks.
Litigation revealed Merck knew about the dangers before it even got approval in 1999 from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but it hid the risks. It was not until 2004 that Merck pulled Vioxx from the market after it was blamed for causing nearly 100,000 heart attacks, strokes or deaths. In 2007, Merck agreed to pay $4.85 billion to settle thousands of personal injury lawsuits, among other settlements related to Vioxx and its injuries.
However, an area of litigation that is still ongoing concerns financial losses to investors who banked on the drug’s success. Investor and derivative claims were consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in 2005, in New Jersey. That MDL is still ongoing.
On Jan. 23, some additional investors who withdrew from that MDL filed a lawsuit against Merck & Co. Inc. in New Jersey federal court. Plaintiffs are the Kuwait Investment Authority, Aegon Investment Management BV and Transamerica Funds. In their complaint, they allege Merck “engaged in an aggressive campaign to conceal both the medical and commercial risks associated with Vioxx,” not only from the FDA and the public, but from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). As a result, Plaintiffs say Merck stock traded at an artificially inflated price, and investors were not aware that Vioxx had any risk of liability. They expected the drug to remain a blockbuster for years to come.
The lawsuit asks that Merck compensate Plaintiff investors for the more than 1.37 million Merck & Co. shares they purchased. They also call for those who served as officers and senior managers for Merck, who received bonuses and other compensation as a result of aggressively marketing Vioxx while concealing its risks, should be forced to pay back “ill-gotten gains.”
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.