Judge attacks $4600 Vioxx payouts

A judge has attacked the Vioxx legal settlement that will see patients who had a myocardial infarction after taking the drug receive no more than $4630 each.

On Thursday, the Federal Court of Australia approved the final payout to 1660 patients who had originally launched a class action against Merck.

In 2010, the company in the US paid out some $4.85 billion to settle 27,000 lawsuits brought by people who claimed they or their family members had suffered injury or died as a result of the drug, known generically as rofecoxib.

But in Australia, Merck has agreed a deal where it will pay a total of $497,500 without admitting liability.

Federal Court Judge Christopher Jessop approved the settlement this week, in part