Pittman, Dutton & Hellums handled claims related to the drug Vioxx, which was voluntarily recalled from the market by the drug company Merck in September of 2004. Vioxx was initially approved by the FDA in 1999 for the treatment of arthritis and acute pain in adults, but was recalled almost five years later due to safety concerns of increased cardiovascular risks such as heart attack or stroke.
Testimony and documents have been gathered to show that Merck was long aware of Vioxx’s potential heart risks but hid those risks from patients. Scientists at Merck were worried about Vioxx heart attack risks as early as 1997, two years before Merck began selling Vioxx.
About two million people worldwide were taking Vioxx at the time of the recall, and a total of 84 million have taken it since it came on the market in 1999. Despite the recall and removal from the market, it is estimated that dangerous side effects from Vioxx may have been responsible for more than 100,000 heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular conditions. There are currently over 18,000 Vioxx lawsuits pending against Merck.