Celebrex, Vioxx and Bextra were similar class popular anti inflammatory prescription drugs until late in 2004. Vioxx was recalled almost 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.
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 are acting for some claimants for Celebrexa 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 now understand that there have been about 200 claims in total which is a surprisingly low number especially considering the widespread popular use of Celebrex. Bextra was a new drug introduced shortly before the Vioxx recall and there were not very many people taking it. We understand that 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 our clients. The assessments we have on Bextra look good and our clients are pleased with them. Actual payments may be a lot less than the assessed amounts but we do not know that yet. Letters are expected for each claim saying how much will be paid and confirming information for purposes of payment. With all claims assessed, and all appeals of assessments complete we are hoping for payment at any time. The individual payments had to be approved by a court before they are actually made. As the year comes to an end this month and there is no indication that any payments are on the way, we do not expect to see any money on Celebrex or Bextra until 2015.
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 current 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 may be paid very soon. We are now thinking we will not see any payments on Vioxx until late 2015 or even 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.