Vioxx sued in St. Clair County

Steve Gonzalez Mar. 10, 2005, 7:21am

A 41-year-old Illinois woman filed suit against the makers of Vioxx in St. Clair County Circuit Court alleging the drug caused her heart attack.

Although the complaint--filed March 1--does not indicate exactly where Kathleen Schulten resides, it states the court has jurisdiction against Merck & Co. because the pharmaceutical conducted business and owned real estate in Illinois.

Schulten, who is represented by John Driscoll of St. Louis, claims that Vioxx was defectively designed, inadequately tested, dangerous to human health, and lacked proper warnings, which subjected users to risks of heart attacks, strokes and other illnesses.

She is seeking at least $250,000 for Merck’s alleged violations of Illinois Consumer Fraud Act, product liability, negligent design and negligent failure to warn.

“When Vioxx was manufactured and sold to Schulten it was defective in design and formulation, making use of the product more dangerous than other drugs for pain relief,” the complaint states.

Schulten claims she was unaware of the "dangerous propensities" of the product until well after her use and heart attack requiring hospitalization.

Vioxx, which was removed from the drug market nearly six months ago because a study indicated it could cause cardiac problems, is the brand name of rofecoxib, a cox-2 inhibitor and a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID). Other similar prescription NSAIDs include Bextra and Celebrex. Over-the-counter drugs include Advil and Motrin.

Schulten also claims that Merck did not accurately reflect the symptoms, type, scope, or severity of the side effects and also claims Merck failed to perform adequate testing prior to marketing Vioxx.

“Merck also failed to act properly on adverse reports it received about Vioxx, and failed to properly study pre-market as well as post-market studies,” the complaint notes.

Schulten alleges that Merck failed to effectively warn users and prescribing physicians that numerous other methods of pain relievers, including Ibuprofen, Naproxen, and Mobic, were safer. She also states that Merck failed to give adequate post-marketing warnings for the use of Vioxx because it knew the risk of injury.

05 L 157 20th Circuit)

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