HOW MUCH EACH CLAIMANT WILL BE PAID REMAINS CONFIDENTIAL AND WE DO NOT YET HAVE THAT INFORMATION. ONCE POINT VALUE IS KNOWN EACH CLAIMANT CAN MULTIPLY THE NUMBER OF POINTS THEY HAVE BY THE VALUE OF A POINT TO KNOW HOW MUCH THEY WILL BE PAID (BEFORE LEGAL FEES, SALES TAX ON LEGAL FEES AND EXPENSES SUCH AS MEDICAL RECORDS). WE DO KNOW THAT ALL STROKE CASES HAVE BEEN ASSESSED AT 10 POINTS AND THERE IS A MAXIMUM PAYMENT OF $5,000.00 ON STROKE CLAIMS. STROKE CLAIMANTS WILL BE PAID TEN TIMES THE VALUE OF A POINT TO A MAXIMUM OF $5,000. WE NOW BELIEVE A POINT WILL BE WORTH LESS THAN $500 AND SO PEOPLE WITH STROKES WILL BE PAID LESS THAN $5,000. WE HAVE BEEN FLOODED WITH ENQUIRIES FROM CLIENTS OF OTHER LAW FIRMS SEEKING INFORMATION ABOUT TIMING FOR PAYMENT OF THEIR CLAIMS. PLEASE CONTACT YOUR OWN LAWYER’S FIRM, IF IT IS NOT MISKIN LAW OFFICE, AS THEY WILL PROCESS YOUR PAYMENT AND SHOULD BE UPDATING YOU ON YOUR OWN CLAIM STATUS. WE ARE NOT ABLE TO ADVISE PEOPLE ABOUT WHEN OTHER LAW FIRMS WILL HAVE FUNDS RELEASED.
THIS WEBSITE HAS BEEN THE PRIMARY SOURCE OF UP TO DATE NEWS AND INFORMATION ON VIOXX SINCE THE DRUG’S RECALL IN 2004 AND WE WILL CONTINUE TO PROVIDE INFORMATION FOR OUR CLIENTS AND THE PUBLIC UNTIL THE CASE IS FINALIZED. YOU MAY RELY ON MISKIN LAW OFFICE TO POST UPDATES HERE REGULARLY SO YOU WILL KNOW WHEN PAYMENT OF THE CLAIMS IS MADE, AND THE VALUE OF A POINT, AS SOON AS WE LEARN THE INFORMATION. WE WILL DIRECTLY ADVISE OUR CLIENTS HOW MUCH THEY WILL BE PAID AS SOON AS WE KNOW.
WHAT FOLLOWS IS MORE DETAILED INFORMATION ABOUT THE VIOXX CLAIM AND SETTLEMENT: Vioxx victims continue to ask why is the settlement taking so long, but slowly progress has been made. Almost 12 years ago on September 30, 2004 Merck’s anti-inflammatory drug Vioxx was recalled from the market based on evidence of increased risk of heart attack and stroke among users. While the Canadian Vioxx class action claim has settled, nobody has yet been paid from the settlement. This is an update on the status of Vioxx claims and the settlement in Canada. All of our clients claims that were allowed have been assessed. We received notice just before Canada Day 2015 that the balance of our clients claims have been disallowed. Any rejected claims had a right of appeal which further delayed payment. We appealed some of the declined claims with mixed success and there was no right of further appeal. Successfully appealed claims then had to be assessed and that process is complete. The claims administrator then calculated details for all payments to go to the courts across Canada for approval. Approval is now complete with Quebec approval given on April 27, 2016 to complete the process. All other Provinces’ courts had already approved the additional fees coming out of the settlement months earlier. Payment of the claims will be made in June 2016 to the lawyers representing each individual claimant. Unrepresented claimants will receive payment directly. Once our firm is in funds we will process them and send out money to our clients as quickly as we can. We expect that our successfully claiming clients will all see money by the end of July 2016.
When Vioxx was recalled many thousands of law suits began around the world related to its use. In the United States individual injury claims, many of which began before the recall, proceeded and before long there were several trials with mixed results including some very large jury judgements against Merck. It is difficult to prove in an individual case that Vioxx caused a person to have a cardiac event especially when a person has other risk factors. There are many other risk factors and as a result some juries did not accept Vioxx as the cause in some of the cases. Thousands more cases were ready or almost ready for trial when a United States only settlement was negotiated in 2007. Vioxx users who suffered heart attack, sudden cardiac death or stroke were compensated from a $4.5 Billion fund. Unfortunately “foreigners” including Canadians were not allowed to share in the US settlement as a term of the settlement agreement. This was unfortunate for some of our clients who had cases pending in the New Jersey Court. The New Jersey court had already ruled that British claimants could not proceed in the US Court and it was expected before the US settlement that Canadians would soon be sent back to proceed with claims in Canada.
The very generous and early US settlement created high hopes around the world for settlement which are mostly gone now. Nowhere else in the world has there been a settlement with any compensation except for Canada and Australia. In Canada claims proceed through a class action process where there was infighting among lawyers for control of the proceedings which caused major delays for the first few years. This was followed by continuous appeals by Merck of the certification of the class action. After the final appeals were dismissed the class action proceeded to a lengthy and very detailed document production process. Meanwhile negotiations for settlement proceeded secretly. There was an agreed settlement for Canada reached in January 2012 with about $25 Million available for Canadian victims. This works out to much less per average victim than the US settlement but Canadians are doing better than any other victims outside of the US. The settlement went through an approval process in the Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan courts for the Canadian Class Actions which then had to be ratified in every Province which took quite some time. The approved settlement was then advertised and claims were allowed to be submitted from April 2013 up until August 19, 2013. There are approximately 1,200 individual claimants who have filed with basically the same qualifying requirements as the US settlement. The settlement includes victims of heart attack, sudden cardiac death and stroke. Because of weaker scientific evidence on causation stroke victims are eligible for a maximum of only $5,000 total compensation and their family members are not allowed to claim. Family members of heart attack and sudden cardiac death victims are allowed to get some compensation and that has created about 1500 additional “derivative” claims. Spouses and children are each allowed to receive a small percentage of what is awarded to a primary claimant. Our firm, from over 350 total client files found only 110 primary claimants who we believe qualified under the settlement and we submitted claims for them and where applicable their family members. The claims have been assessed and all appeals are now over. Soon we will know how much each of the claims will be paid. With the small amount of the settlement, large number of claimants and now extra legal fees for class action lawyers we do not expect many people to be happy with the amount they will receive.
No further claims could be brought after the August 2013 deadline. There are strict requirements for documentation and a great number of claims received deficiency notices. Those notices could relate to minor items such as identification and signatures. They also could be related to adequacy of pharmacy or other records proving Vioxx use or to sufficiency of medical records with the patient’s history or the actual event that is to be compensated. Since the deadline for claim filing the Miskin Law Office continued to obtain medical and prescription records where we knew the full requirements for claim documentation was not available by the deadline. Where documentation was not available we have submitted affidavits to confirm information.
Claims can be awarded up to 100 points and most assessments are in the range of 40 points although we do have some higher assessments including only one for 100 points which will receive maximum compensation. Claims for family members of assessed claims (not allowed on stroke cases) have also been assessed in October 2015. Persons with stroke claims have each been given 10 points on approval but stroke compensation will be limited to a maximum $5000 per claim and will be less than that if a point is worth less than $500.
All claim assessments are now approved by the courts across Canada and soon the total points awarded will be made public. The funds available for compensation will be divided by the total number of points to determine the value of a point. Then it is a simple process to multiply the number of points assessed by the value of a point to arrive at the amount to be paid on a claim. Once we have this information we will post it so that anyone awarded points can easily calculate the amount to be paid on their claim. Based on assessments received by our firm and other information we had estimated that each point would be worth more than $500. With additional fees approved for the class action lawyers the value of a point is likely to be less than that. Additional payment for family member claims for heart attack and sudden cardiac death (not stroke) claimants will also be factored into the value of a point.
We have been down a long road with Vioxx claims for the past decade and it will not be long until it is finally over and we see payment.