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Merck settles out of court in Canada over Vioxx

Published by Steve Coleman on January 19, 2012

Merck has resolved out of court with several class action suits in Canada related to the anti-inflammatory drug Vioxx.

The company agreed late Jan. 19 to settle all of the Canadian claims against it related to the one-time profitable drug.

Merck, known as MSD outside of Canada and the United States, will pay anywhere from $21,806,250 to $36,881,250 to make class action suits and other Vioxx-related legal action in Canada disappear.

Of the money the drug company will set aside to settle the Canadian legal problems, between $11,306,250 and $26,381,250 will be distributed between eligible claimants. The amount will be the same for everyone, but how much victims will receive depends on how many people are involved.

People who filed suit over ischemic stroke claims will receive identical amounts, but not more than $5,000.

"This agreement is structured to provide certainty and finality toward resolving Vioxx cases in Canada for a fixed amount," said Bruce N. Kuhlik, executive vice president and general counsel of Merck in a news release. "Under the agreement, there will be an orderly, documented and objective process to examine individual claims to determine qualification."

Merk voluntarily pulled the medication off the market in September 2004 after heart attack risks surfaced.

As a part of the statement, the company says it acted responsibly with Vioxx, right from the testing stage to keeping an eye on it while the drug was on the market before they recalled it from store and hospital shelves.

The company also said in its news release that the settlement "does not constitute any admission of liability."

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