The New Drug Recall Lawyers

Richard Martin

Given the monstrous size and profitability of drug companies, some plaintiff lawyers are considering focusing more of their practice on drug litigation. In fact, shortly after Mercks announcement of the Vioxx recall, some large plaintiff firms started aggressive media campaigns aimed at bringing in prescription drug injury victims. The media blitz has been non stop. Billboards, TV, web marketing, radio, and direct mail are just some of the marketing vehicles that attorneys have used to try and find new cases for them to work on. Many plaintiff law firms are no longer focusing on chasing run of the mill car accidents. Some of them have gone so far as to reposition themselves as “drug recall lawyers,” seeing that the future of their practice may be shaped by the initial outcome of these new pharmaceutical cases.

When Merck chose to withdraw Vioxx, the CEO stated that a voluntary recall was the responsible course of action. Prior to pulling Vioxx from the market, Merck was spending $500 Million per year on advertising Vioxx. Vioxx is classified as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID. However, Vioxx belongs to a new family of NSAIDs called “COX-2 inhibitors.” There are not many COX-2 inhibitors on the market in the US: Bextra and Celebrex may be the only other two.

Both the number of potential Vioxx plaintiffs and award amounts of the lawsuits are projected to be extremely large. The investment bank S.G. Cowan recently estimated that eventually more than 600,000 plaintiffs could file suit in the Vioxx case. Furthermore, some investment banks think that plaintiffs may file for more than $10Billion in damages in years to come. Even the national TV networks have covered the Vioxx withdrawal. A November 2004 story on the Vioxx withdrawal appeared on CBS News 60 Minutes. The CBS story implied that the US Justice Department is conducting an investigation and the Securities and Exchange Commission is looking into Mercks conduct. Given the media coverage of the Vioxx withdrawal and the number of people who were prescribed Vioxx, there may be many new “Drug Recall Firms” founded in years to come.

About The Author

Richard Martin is a contributing writer at is a collection of lawyer articles and other resources.

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