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UK Vioxx Patients Lose Right to Sue Merck in America

Hard to believe, except for the court system, Merck has gotten off almost scot-free in America even after covering up data about its heart-stopping painkiller Vioxx. And they just dodged another bullet, unfortunately, thanks to the New Jersey courts.

Hundreds of patients in the UK who were victimized by the toxic andoften lethal side effects of Vioxx won't have the right to join thetens of thousands in suing Merck in America due to a federal courtdecision. Instead, patients harmed by Vioxx in the UK must challengeMerck in the British court system.

That doesn't sound like an insurmountable hurdle to Americans untilyou realize most patients harmed by Vioxx rely on legal aid in the UKand insurers of such services won't pay for their legal services. Still, the few hundred cases Merck probably won't have to fight in the UK isn't much in comparison to the 21,000 worldwide claims the company currently faces.

Such news makes that weak handslap of a suspension earlier this weekby the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry forselectively providing blood pressure screenings only to UK doctors whoprescribed its blood pressure drug Cozaar (losartan) for hypertension seem all the more tepid, doesn't it?

Just another reminder, there are plenty of safer, more natural alternatives for treating your pain, that have absolutely nothing to do with a drug, at your disposal.

BBC News October 6, 2006

BBC News October 2, 2006