Vioxx plaintiffs get nothing: lawyer

Under the settlement, finalised more than 10 years after Vioxx was found to increase the risk of myocardial infarction and stroke, only about 260 of the Australian plaintiffs in class actions against Merck will receive any money at all.

For the successful 16%, the maximum payout will be no more than $4430 per person. But for most of them the sum reduced on a points system according to other risk factors that may have predisposed an individual to a cardiovascular event.

Slater and Gordon lawyer Julie Clayton, who was closely involved in the class actions joined by Vioxx patients in 2005, said the negotiated settlement was a “very disappointing outcome” for the Australian patients, after Merck had settled Vioxx cases for substantial sums in the US and Canada.

The US settlements in individual cases reportedly involved payouts totalling more than $4 billion.

“In Canada, [Merck’s payout] was less generous but it was