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It’s been since 2004 that Merck & Co., one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, has taken the pain medication Vioxx off of the shelves. Finally, on November 9th, Merck settled the numerous Vioxx lawsuits with agreeing to pay $4.85 billion.

It appears that the Vioxx manufacturer finally recognized, after obtaining mixed results in the early Vioxx cases it forced to trial, that a better approach is to accept responsibility for the injuries and deaths caused by it’s product through settlement.

There were 27,000 lawsuits against Merck, claiming that either they or family members suffered injuries or death as a result of taking Vioxx. Merck claimed that the dangerous effects of Vioxx only caused harm after 18 months of use; independent scientists and plaintiff lawyers have since then proved those claims wrong.

The new settlement could still fall through, however with many top U.S. lawyers agreeing to the deal, plaintiffs who choose to not accept will face difficulty in pursuing their own claims.

Past reports of how much Merck would have to settle for ranged from $10 billion to $20 billion. The $4.85 billion settlement is still one of the largest settlements in this industry.

Civil and criminal investigations do continue against Merck from numerous states.

For more information on this subject, please refer to the section on Drugs, Medical Devices and Implants.

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