Vioxx Settlement Update

Registration

The Vioxx federal MDL Court and courts in California, New Jersey and Texas entered orders requiring that all filed and tolled cases be registered. This requirement applied to cases alleging heart attacks, strokes, as well as to those cases alleging “other injuries.” All cases were required to be registered regardless of whether the claims are eligible to participate in the settlement.

The registration deadline expired on January 15, 2008.  Over 58,000 claims were registered.  This necessary step served as a census so that the parties and supervising courts could gain a better understanding of the total number of Vioxx-related claims pending throughout the country.

Enrollment

As of February 29, 2008, more than 44,000 of 47,000 eligible claimants have enrolled in the Program.  This constitutes over93% of all eligible claimants.  This enrollment percentage exceeds the 85% thresholds established in the settlement agreement   Merck retained a right to walk away from the Agreement unless 85% of eligible claimants alleging a heart attack, stroke, death or greater than 12 months Vioxx usage enrolled in the Program. While validation of the enrollments and supporting documentation is ongoing, it appears from current analysis that the 85% thresholds will not only be met but exceeded.  As a result, Merck’s right to walk away would be extinguished, and Merck obligated to pay $4.85 billion into a resolution fund from which to compensate qualified eligible claimants. 

Eligible claimants are those who had a filed or tolled lawsuit as of November 9, 2007, alleging that they suffered a heart attack or stroke as a result of ingesting Vioxx.  More than 44,000 of 47,000 eligible claimants have enrolled in the Program. 

In order for an eligible claimant to qualify for an initial payment if his or her claim is determined to be compensable, that Claimant must enroll his or her claim on or before February 29, 2008. Eligible claimants who enrolled as of February 29, 2008, have a 31-day grace period to submit to the Claims Administrator additional documentation, including properly executed releases and medical authorization forms. All eligible claimants must enroll before May 1, 2008, in order to participate in the Settlement Program.

To learn more about the necessary steps to accomplish enrollment, as well as to obtain any necessary forms, visit the Claims Administrator’s website, www.browngreer.com.

Claims Packages

Each enrolled claimant must submit a Claims Package. The deadline for the submission of claims packages is on or before July 1, 2008. A claims package must include: 1) medical records as outlined in Exhibit 1.3.1 of the Settlement Agreement (see www.browngreer.com for a complete listing); 2) Plaintiff or Claimant Profile Form (and amendments); and 3) a claims form (to be completed online using BrownGreer’s secure server). Claims packages for enrolled claimants should be submitted on a rolling basis.

Helpful Tools

A number of helpful tools have been created to assist Counsel as they evaluate claims. For assistance estimating the points award for each claim, please click on “Calculator” above where you will find a point calculator for your convenience.

Secondly, to conduct a more detailed analysis of a claimant’s proximity of Vioxx usage, it is necessary to count the number of pills dispensed to the claimant for specified periods of time prior to the event. See below a file entitled, “Pill Counter,” which will assist you in determining if a claimant’s Vioxx usage meets the definition of proximity of usage as outlined in the Settlement Agreement.

Claims Valuation

Following the submission of a claims package, the Claims Administrator, Brown Greer, will evaluate the claim for purposes of determining if the claim passes through the injury and usage gates. If a claim passes through the gates (i.e., meets the definition of injury, duration and proximity) and thus, is compensable, Brown Greer will issue a notice that the claim passed through the gates, is compensable, and will provide a notice of the points allocated to the claim. If a claim fails to pass through the gates (i.e., does not meet the definition of injury, duration and/or proximity gates), Brown Greer will issue a notice to Counsel for the Claimant that the claim does not pass the gates and that Counsel has a limited time to submit any additional records available. The claim then will then be submitted to the Gates Committee for additional review. If the Gates Committee determines that the claim should pass through the gates, the claim then will be returned to the Claims Administrator for a points' evaluation. If the Gates Committee determines that the claim does not pass one or more the gates, Counsel for Claimant will then have the opportunity to appeal the decision to a Special Master or certify the evidence and litigate the claim.

For further information about and the claims submission and valuation processes, please visit www.browngreer.com. The Brown Greer website maintains the most up-to-date forms and procedures available. If you are Primary Counsel for any claims, please check your secure portal on the Brown Greer website often.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to let us know.

Best regards,

  • Andy D. Birchfield, Jr.
  • Ed Blizzard
  • Tom Girardi
  • Arnold Levin
  • Russ Herman
  • Chris Seeger

Proximity of Usage Calculator

Notice: The Proximity of Usage Calculator is based on 30-day months and a 365-day calendar year. Please be aware that these factors may affect the proximity of usage analysis. For that reason, if a client's usage does not meet the proximity of usage definition but is very close, it would be advisable to calculate the pill usage manually.

Proximity of Usage Calculator (XLS) 94KB

Disclaimer

The purpose of this web site is to provide information, links to relevant documents and a "Settlement Calculator". This web site is not intended to describe or summarize all of the terms and conditions of the Settlement. The complete Settlement Agreement and court orders define all of the details and governs the rights and liabilities of litigants in the Vioxx litigation. If there is any conflict between the provisions of this web site or the provisions of any forms contained on this web site, the Settlement Calculator and or the results from the Settlement Calculator and the terms of the Settlement Agreement, the terms of the Settlement Agreement control. Legal developments and amendments to the Settlement Agreement may cause information on this web site to become outdated. The website sponsors take no responsibility and disavow any liability for any person or entities reliance on the point calculation resulting from the "Settlement Calculator" that it is done solely for demonstrative purposes and that their actual point award may vary.

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