Wed, December 22, 2004

Alberta joins nationwide Vioxx lawsuit


Albertans looking for compensation from the makers of the drug Vioxx might find they have strength in numbers -- now that they are part of a national class-action suit. Calgary lawyers who launched a province-wide class-action lawsuit for victims of the arthritis and pain-killing drug months ago said yesterday their case is stronger now that they've aligned with a larger pool of plaintiffs.

"We have been invited to join the national class-action coalition and now can be part of the national strategy," said lawyer Vaughn Marshall, with Marshall Attorneys, which along with Docken & Co. launched the suit in Alberta.

Studies show patients taking Vioxx, Canada's 10th most prescribed drug last year, were at significantly higher risk of complications like heart attack, stroke, angina, blood clots and congestive heart failure. The drug has also been linked to liver and kidney damage.

The maker of Vioxx, Merck Frosst Canada & Co., voluntarily pulled the drug from store shelves worldwide last October.

The Calgary lawyers recently met with 25 lawyers representing plaintiffs nationwide to join forces in the fight against Merck Frosst.

Lawyers claim the manufacturer should have known of the medical risks associated with Vioxx and failed to advise users and/or their treating medical professionals.

The next legal step, which could take up to two years, is to make an application in Ontario's high court to approve the case.

He advises anyone who may have a case against Merck Frosst to contact a lawyer.

Nadia Moharib , Calgary Sun

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