Vioxx target of possible lawsuit in France

22nd August 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 22 (AFP) - The possibility of a class-action lawsuit in France against US pharmaceutical giant Merck, the manufacturer of defective arthritis painkiller Vioxx, is set to to be considered in September or October, a specialist class-action lawyer said on Monday.

PARIS, Aug 22 (AFP) - The possibility of a class-action lawsuit in France against US pharmaceutical giant Merck, the manufacturer of defective arthritis painkiller Vioxx, is set to to be considered in September or October, a specialist class-action lawyer said on Monday.

"Until now, the indications were that we were not likely to be successful with legal action, but in the aftermath of the court decision (in the US)... we are going to reexamine the case," said Jean-Marc Goldnadel, the lawyer who founded website classaction.fr, told AFP.

Merck could face a deluge of legal proceedings following a decision by a jury in Texas to find the US drug maker guilty of liability, negligence and malice over the sale of Vioxx.

The company, which withdrew the drug from the market last September after an internal study showed it increased the risk for strokes and heart attacks, was ordered to pay US $253 million (EUR 207 million) to the widow of a 59-year-old triathlete who died in May 2001 from heart failure after using Vioxx to treat pain in his hands.

Merck said immediately it would appeal the decision in a process likely to take several years.

Goldnadel, who is a member of the International Bar Association, said that he had spoken to the head of the French association for the victims of medical accidents (AAVAM), Georges-Alexandre Imbert, and that they had "agreed to talk again in September or October to reexamine if there is the possibility of class action".

Vioxx, which had sales of US $2.5bn a year, was used by 20 million people worldwide.

A study sponsored by the US Food and Drug Administration estimated that Vioxx could have caused 27,785 heart attacks or deaths since it was approved in 1999.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news, Vioxx, Merck, class-action lawsuit, AAVAM

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