One VIOXX® Case Tossed; Hundreds Remain, And $4.8 Billion Settlement Still Being Paid Out


While it is true that the Texas Supreme Court has overturned a $32 million verdict (on lack of relevant, admissable evidence applicable to Garza’s particular facts — only 25 days of Vioxx® dosing, and at the lowest dosage levels), it should be noted that hundreds of individual opt-out cases continue to wend their way toward trials, churning large and ongoing legal fee expense outlays in their wake, at Whitehouse Station.

In addition, most of the $4.85 billion global settlement has already been meted out, but legal fees continue to mount, as various factions angle for larger slices of the legal expenses pie.

At the end of it all, though (despite some mainstream media reports to the contrary) — there is no reason to believe that the Garza case will reduce — or even slow — Merck’s burn-rate on the individual Vioxx cases. From the decision, then:

. . . .Respondents contend that Vioxx, a prescription drug, caused their decedent’s death. In Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Havner, we set requirements for determining whether epidemiological evidence is scientifically reliable to prove causation. The parties here dispute what those requirements are, whether they apply in this case, and whether they were satisfied. We hold that Havner’s requirements apply and were not met, and that the evidence was therefore legally insufficient to prove causation. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the court of appeals and render judgment that respondents take nothing. . . .

We will keep following these cases, right here. Most analysts expect that the Vioxx costs will continue through the end of this decade.

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