Last November, Merck reached a tentative settlement to resolve most of the outstanding claims it had against it due to the dangerous drug Vioxx. The settlement was contingent on the number of participants. Approximately 50,000 claimants registered for the settlement and earlier this month, Merck waived it right to walk away from the settlement. Today, the first payments are scheduled to be sent out by the administrator to the claimants' lawyers. It should be about 40% of the total payout for those receiving these checks, but it is currently unclear how many of the claimants will actually be receiving these checks.
To get to this stage of actually distributing checks only eight months after the tentative agreement was reached is really impressive. I know that sounds like a long time, but there are millions of pages of documents to process. Let's hope all continues to go “fast” and the victims are able to receive all of the money due them very soon. Of course, if these drug companies would put people over profits, instead of the other way around, we would not have to have any of these types of claims. But like I talked about last week when news came out about the real reason for an early Vioxx study (marketing driven), the safety of its customers is not always what these companies put as it tops priority.