Merck will have to shell out between C$21.8 million and C$36.9 million to settle litigation in Canada relating to its anti-inflammatory painkiller, Vioxx, which was pulled from the shelves in 2004 because of its links with heart attacks and stroke. The payment will resolve all Vioxx certified calss actions, putative class actions, and other litigation and claims relating to Vioxx in Canada. Of the total amount agreed, between C$11.3 million and C$26.4 million will be doled out to Vioxx users, with the final amount payable dependent on the number of claimants. Another C$10.5 million will cover legal costs.
The settlement of Canadian litigation follows just two months after Merck agreed to shell out two-thirds of a previously agreed $950 million to resolve civil allegations related to Vioxx in the U.S. The final third of this total was paid as a fine relating to Merck’s plea of guilty to a misdemeanor under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act relating to the marketing of Vioxx as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis before FDA had actually approved its use for this indication in 2002.
In December 2007 Merck made an agreement with the Negotiating Plaintiffs Counsel acting on behalf of Vioxx claimants, to set aside $4.85 billion to resolve pending or existing Vioxx-related claims against the firm. By October 2007 there had been about 26,000 active Vioxx personal injury actions filed in the U.S.