Thousands of lawsuits Merck has yet to face don’t look to be in their favor after admitting to an error in Vioxx’s test data. Merck’s admission supports claims by the drug’s critics that Vioxx can cause heart problems in a very short period of time.
The 18-month theory is the reason Vioxx was taken off the market back in September 2004. In previous lawsuits, Merck stood strongly behind the theory that Vioxx had to be taken for at least 18 months for problems to show. Merck stated in The New England Journal of Medicine last year there was no risk to patients who took the drug for less than 18 months. But in a recent announcement, they said that there was a mistake in this data.
Merck says they let the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) know about the error as soon as they found out. This is an important development for the 20 million people who took Vioxx and for the future of Merck. Merck still has to face 11,500 lawsuits dealing with Vioxx, and their main defense is no longer valid.