Class Action Filed for New Zealanders Who Took Vioxx - - September 19, 2005
September 19, 2005

Class action filed for Nzers who took Vioxx

American lawyers have filed a class action for all New Zealanders who took the potentially lethal painkilling drug Vioxx.

The legal firm Kenneth B Moll & Associates filed the action against the drug's manufacturers Merck & Co, alleging they had failed to properly research known risks of Vioxx and warn people of its potentially fatal side effects.

'Countless individuals and around the world have suffered severe and fatal injuries which could have been avoided if Merck had acted responsibly,' Mr Moll said.

Studies have shown people taking Vioxx faced a three-fold risk of heart attacks and stroke.

In August, a Texas jury awarded $US253.5 million ($NZ366.17 million) against Merck & Co to the widow of a man who died from heart problems after taking Vioxx.

It was the first lawsuit to reach trial after the drug's withdrawal last September.

The drug, introduced in 1999 and part of the Cox-2 inhibitor class of anti-inflammatory painkillers, was taken by hundreds of thousands of people, including about 15,000 in New Zealand.

'It should never have been marketed in the first place,' said Mr Moll.