Plaintiff claims Vioxx caused her stroke

Steve Gonzalez Feb. 28, 2006, 4:43am

Mary Lahey, who used Vioxx to relieve her arthritis pain, claims it caused her to suffer a stroke at the age of 67.

Lahey filed suit against Merck & Co. in St. Clair County Circuit Court Feb. 21 seeking damages in excess of $200,000.

She claims that Vioxx was 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 Lahey it was defective in design and formulation, making use of the product more dangerous than other drugs for pain relief, the complaint states.

Lahey, who is represented by John Driscoll of Brown & Crouppen in 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 stroke, which required hospitalization.

Vioxx was introduced in the United States in 1999. Vioxx is a Cyclo-Oxygenase-2 (cox2) inhibitor and was used to treat arthritis and is in the class of drugs called NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory). Other NSAID drugs include Ibuprofen, Celebrex and Aleve.

Lahey 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 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.

"Merck owed Lahey a duty to warn of any dangerous defects or side effects," the complaint states, "a duty to assure its product did not cause users unreasonable and dangerous risks, reactions, side effects, and a duty to provide adequate post market surveillance and warnings as it learned of Vioxx's substantial dangers."

06 L 103 (20th Circuit)

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