THIS IS A MARCH 13 2015 UPDATE FOLLOWING ONTARIO AND QUEBEC COURT APPROVAL IN FEBRUARY OF THE ACTUAL PAYOUT OF APPROVED CLAIMS IN THE CELEBREX BEXTRA CLASS ACTION. THE CLAIMS HAVE BEEN PAID:
Celebrex, Vioxx and Bextra were similar class popular anti inflammatory prescription drugs until late in 2004. Vioxx was recalled by the manufacturer Merck over 10 years ago with the Bextra recall soon after. The prescription drug Celebrex is still sold and used by people today but with strong risk warnings. Both Bextra and Celebrex are products of the drug company Pfizer and are both included in the same class action.
Class action claims related to all three of these prescription drugs have settled. The deadline for submitting claims for settlement of the class action in Canada for Pfizer’s drugs Celebrex and Bextra was December 22, 2012. We continue to hear from potential new clients in regard to Celebrex but we can not do anything for people who did not have claims submitted by the deadline. We are acting for some claimants for Celebrex and Bextra, although most of our clients with similar claims relate to the drug Vioxx manufactured by Merck. All 3 of these drugs are Cox-2 inhibitors which are a specific form of non steroidal anti inflammatory drug which is believed to have the effect of increasing the risk of users to have heart attacks or strokes.
We submitted claims on behalf of our Bextra and Celebrex clients. We understand that there have been 209 approved claims. All claims have been “assessed” but no claims have been paid to date. Since the deadline has passed for further claims we have received claim assessments for all of our clients. The assessments we have on Bextra are good and our clients are pleased with them. Actual payments will be 34.76746% of the assessed amount or just over 40% for claims given the maximum assessment. Letters from the class action administrator are expected for each claim saying how much will be paid and confirming information for purposes of payment. Funds were received by our office on March 12, 2015. The individual payments had to be approved by the court in Quebec for Quebec and in Ontario for the rest of Canada before they could be made.
For the Vioxx claims following finalization of the settlement approval which allowed claims to be filed until August 2013 there are an estimated 1200 Vioxx claims that were submitted. Our firm represents a substantial number of the people with Vioxx claims. The Vioxx recall received considerable publicity with many Vioxx users being switched to Celebrex after. The Vioxx claims was fought hard by Merck and had a much higher profile than the case related to Celebrex and Bextra. Pfizer has been far more co-operative in dealing with claims and a settlement in Canada was reached about a year earlier with more generous terms to the settlement. The amount paid out on all claims is just under $5,000,000 to be divided between all approved claims proportionately. Claims were paid out at less than 35% of the full assessment and just over 40% for the claims assessed at the $100,000 maximum. Additional to this 170 of the claims have been approved for payment of expenses related to the cost of medical records needed to prove the claims. The additional amounts as well will be paid out at the same percentage of the total amount. For example if medical records cost $100 the expense will be partially repaid as $34.76. There is also some reimbursement for the cost of the medication.
The Bextra Celebrex status of slow processing of claims is a definite indicator that it may be some time before Vioxx claims are actually paid. The Celebrex and Bextra claims will be paid very soon. We are now thinking we will not see any payments on Vioxx until late 2015 or later. Payment of Vioxx claims will not take place until all of the claims have been assessed. Payment is then made “pro-rata” based on a division of the total funds available for the settlement. Fortunately it is expected that there will be interim payments on Vioxx which there are not on Bextra and Celebrex.