Vioxx: The First Lawsuit

Vioxx: A Killer?

On Sept. 30, 2004, Merck and Co. pulled their arthritis painkiller, Vioxx of the market. They were a little too late, though. The damage was done, and many have reported tragic side effects, and others have lost their lives due to “sudden” heart attacks.

Did Vioxx kill Robert Ernst?

Case in point, Robert Ernst. Robert was taking Vioxx for pain in his hands, when after eight months of Vioxx use; he suffered a fatal heart attack. It is interesting to note that Robert Ernst was apparently in great shape before taking Vioxx. He worked as a produce manager for Wal-Mart, and even at the age of 59, was actively participating in marathons and aerobics.

His heart attack was so sudden that his heart showed no signs of damage- that at least points to the fact that he had not suffered a heart condition before taking Vioxx. With his wife and children convinced that Vioxx was responsible for the heart attack (studies show that if you take Vioxx for an extended period it will increase the chance of heart attack and stroke by fifty percent), his wife, Carol Ernst is fighting the pharmaceutical giants in what is the first lawsuit against Merck and Co.

Vioxx and Future Cases

This case has a lot pending on it. Because Robert passed away in 2001, and he didn’t recall the drug until 2004, which leaves a lot of people and family members who may follow in Carol’s footsteps. There are already more than 4,000 cases waiting to have their turn at bat against Merck and Co. If the Ernst family is victorious, we can expect to see more cases come to surface.

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