Vioxx named in another St. Clair action

Steve Gonzalez Jun. 16, 2005, 4:54am

Betty Herrick, a former user of the arthritis medicine Vioxx, claims she suffered a heart attack after using the arthritis pain reliever Vioxx. She filed suit against Merck & Co. in St. Clair County Circuit Court June 8 seeking damages in excess of $200,000.

Herrick claims that Vioxx is defectively designed, inadequately tested, dangerous to human health and lacked proper warnings regarding the dangers associated with its use.

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

Herrick, who is represented by John Driscoll of St. Louis, claims Vioxx subjected users to risks of heart attacks, strokes and other illnesses.

She claims she was unaware of the "dangerous propensities" of the product until well after she used the drug and sustained a heart attack, which required hospitalization.

Vioxx, which was removed from the drug market on Sept. 30, 2004 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. On April 7 Pfizer suspended sales of Bextra which is also a target of lawsuits filed in the Metro-East.

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

Merck & Co. has been routinely removing cases filed in state courts to federal court in order to combine the massive tort. U.S. District Court of Southern Illinois Judge Patrick Murphy has been sending them back to state courts just as fast for lack of subject jurisdiction.

05 L 336 (20th Circuit)

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