Motley Rice LLC

August 08, 2005 12:06 ET

Law Firms Motley Rice LLC and Will Barristers: Morin & Miller Announce Class Action Lawsuit Against Merck Frosst Canada & Co., Merck Frosst Canada Ltd., and Merck & Co. Inc.

MT. PLEASANT, S.C.--(CCNMatthews - Aug 8, 2005) -

Nationally known law firm, Motley Rice LLC, together with Will Barristers: Morin & Miller of Ontario, Canada today announced the filing of a class action claim against Merck Frosst Canada & Co., Merck Frosst Canada Ltd., and Merck & Co. Inc. The claim was filed in Ontario Superior Court on behalf of The Electrical Industry of Ottawa Health and Benefit Trust Fund and members of the class of entities. The claim against the three Merck companies alleges that the defendants were negligent in the production, manufacturing, testing and marketing of the drug Vioxx. The claim, which also alleges that the defendant misstated the true effectiveness and safety of Vioxx, seeks reimbursement for the cost of Vioxx and/or difference in cost compared to safe alternatives.

The Electrical Industry of Ottawa Health and Benefit Trust Fund, a third-party payer located in the city of Ottawa, is responsible for administering and paying the healthcare benefits of its members, unionized electricians or the staff of electrical contractors. They are responsible to pay for a prescription (or a part of a prescription) once the pharmaceutical product is placed on the drug formulary, the list of drugs that has been approved by the third-party payor as a pharmaceutical that it will cover in whole or in part. The third-party payor does not pay for over the counter medication. The plaintiff claims that they have and will continue to pay for care costs as a result of insured individuals suffering from heart attacks, strokes and other ailments as a result of taking the drug Vioxx.

"Due to a steady rise in the cost of providing health care, we recognize that it is imperative to recover money paid for Vioxx," said Motley Rice attorney and executive committee member Bill Narwold. "According to several reports (The Lancet, the June 2004 Treatment Options for Osteoarthritis: Scientific Review) Merck knew of the dangers associated with Vioxx as early as 1999, yet continued to charge a price 15 times higher than safer alternatives."

Vioxx, is a non steroidal, anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) which was authorized for sale in Canada with an approved usage to treat pain and provide inflammation relief. Merck marketed Vioxx as being more effective and safer than other NSAIDs, since it was gentler on the stomach. The drug was first approved in Canada, by Health Canada in or about October 1999 and listed on the Ontario Drug Benefit Formulary in April 2000. It was more expensive than over the counter and other prescription NSAIDs, but Merck advocated that there would be an overall cost savings for health plans as there would be far fewer gastrointestinal ailments resulting from the ingestion of Vioxx as compared to other NSAIDs. The claim alleges that this was done by Merck to convince Provincial Drug Plans, private insurers, etc., to place Vioxx on their formularies so that the majority of the public would be able to afford Vioxx through a third-party payor and to further convince physicians that Vioxx was the best NSAID which would subsequently increase the rate of prescriptions and Merck's profits.

The claim alleges that Vioxx was significantly more dangerous than other NSAIDs as it caused people to suffer from heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular problems. Vioxx was voluntarily withdrawn from the marketplace on or about September 30, 2004 due to its association with fatal heart attacks and strokes.

"We believe people of Canada have been misled and deceived by all three of these Merck corporations. We also believe if they had been forthright, the drug would not have remained on formularies and would not have been prescribed at the same rate or at all," stated Paul Miller, attorney with Will Barristers: Morin & Miller of Toronto.

About Motley Rice LLC

Motley Rice LLC is one of North America's largest plaintiffs' litigation firms. Motley Rice attorneys gained global recognition for their pioneering work on behalf of asbestos victims, the State Attorneys General in their landmark litigation against Big Tobacco, and the 9/11 families in their groundbreaking lawsuit against terrorist financiers. Motley Rice attorneys are currently representing clients in several of the Ford defective door latch cases including a class action case in Canada, many Canadian clients in asbestos related lawsuits and continue to seek justice in the areas of: aviation disaster, catastrophic injury; complex case resolution; consumer and commercial fraud; environmental hazards and contamination; medical negligence and medical device defects; occupational disease and toxic torts; and transportation defects. For more information on Motley Rice LLC call 1-800-768-4026 or visit http://www.motleyrice.com.

About Will Barristers: Morin & Miller

Will Barristers: Morin & Miller has been a leading force in the field of advocacy for small businesses and individuals for many years. Will Barristers attorneys have the combined years of experience necessary to handle a wide variety of cases in the areas of: civil litigation; personal injury; professional negligence; insurance litigation; class actions; environmental claims; bad faith insurance litigation; plaintiff litigation; and property loss. For more information call 1-800-661-7606 or visit http://www.willbarristers.com.

Contact Information

  • Motley Rice LLC, Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
    Sally W. Comollo, 843-216-9121; Mobile: 843-834-1612