TorteDeForm

Justinian Lane

Taxpayers paid for 80% of the medical bills from Vioxx…

I'm sitting in a conference right now regarding the status of the settlement for the ~50,000 Vioxx cases.  One of the things that has to be resolved before money gets paid is the Medicare/Medicaid lien.  As I've explained before, if Medicare or Medicaid (or a private insurer) pays for your medical expenses related to a defective drug, and you later sue the manufacturer of that drug, you'll have to pay Medicare or Medicaid back. 

Apparently, 80% of the Vioxx claimants were on Medicare or Medicaid.  (Some were on both.)  Thankfully, the Vioxx settlement will make sure our overburdened Medicare and Medicaid systems will be paid back the many millions of dollars that were spent to treat Vioxx victims.  But as I've also written about, FDA preemption will eliminate the right of the victims of the next Vioxx to reclaim these medical expenses.  In other words, FDA preemption will make taxpayers pay for the negligence of pharmaceuticals.

It can be debated whether manufacturers who comply with FDA regulations should be subject to punitive damages.  But there is no reason that taxpayers should have to pay for the medical bills of victims of prescription drug injuries.  John Kerry called it the "Pottery Barn Rule," while others call it the "Swap Meet Rule" - you break it, you buy it.  Can anyone offer a compelling reason to change the rule to "Merck breaks it, taxpayers pay for it?"

Justinian Lane: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 3:06 PM, Jun 24, 2008 in FDA | Federal Preemption
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Come off this pious stance - the taxpayers ALWAYS pay.

Whether it's in the form of the higher prices due to increased product and insurance costs caused by frivilous litigation (estimated at anywhere from 25% to 33% of GNP), or goverment gouging with cigarette, gasoline and alcohol taxes, licensing and permit fees or taxpayers who pay income taxes subsidizing those who receive so-called "Earned Income Credits", the taxpayers always pay for it.

I have no problem with "if Merck breaks it, Merck pays it" as long as when Merck wins at trial their adversaries pay Mercks damages. Since the trial bar insists on being "partners" with their clients in working on a contingency fee basis, let them share in the risks when the other sides' legal fees and costs are assessed against their clients.

Posted by: Paul W Dennis | June 24, 2008 6:32 PM

Before anyone goes mouthing off at victumes of the Largest medicail disaster in our histry. go too http://www.officialvioxxsettlement.com/calculator/ look at just how much one in the settlement will get. then Subtract medical , such as Heart surgery 40.000.00 plus plus a average of 10,000 per year min of 4 yrs paid back too Medicare or Medicaid .ok then Subtract 35 to 45% for attorney fees.

Posted by: Never Mind | June 24, 2008 11:47 PM

Vioxx Settlement Too Low? Vioxx Settlement Too Low?Vioxx Settlement Too Low?

Vioxx Plaintiffs Have Until Feb. 29 to Enroll in Settlement Program

(Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) – The recently announced $4.85 billion Vioxx settlement has been promoted as a victory for people who suffered Vioxx-induced heart attacks and strokes, but is it? For example, a 60-year-old woman who suffered a debilitating stroke after taking Vioxx every day for three years, who is now paralyzed on one side and can no longer speak, would receive approximately $500,000 under the settlement. After attorney’s fees, litigation costs, and especially massive health insurance and hospital liens, little may be left for the victim.

Dozens of factors affect the payout for any individual. Victims can go to http://officialvioxxsettlement.com/calculator to find out approximately what the settlement is worth to them. No victim can be forced to accept the settlement, but Merck has included a controversial provision in the settlement agreement that makes it very difficult for victims to say no.

The settlement agreement requires the plaintiffs’ lawyers to recommend the deal to all their clients, and to refuse to represent any client who chooses to go ahead with their lawsuit instead of accepting the settlement. As reported in a recent New York Times article, “Merck … wants to be sure that plaintiffs who do choose to go ahead will have to find new lawyers, a process that will probably be difficult because the firms with the most experience in the case are all part of the agreement.”

Eligible claimants have until February 29, 2008 to enroll in the settlement program. Vioxx victims who do not want to settle, but are having trouble finding counsel willing to represent them, can contact the Florida Bar, or go to the Florida Bar’s lawyer referral service at www.floridabar.org. However, there is no specific listing for firms willing to take non-settling Vioxx cases, according to John Uustal, a partner with Fort Lauderdale-based Kelley/Uustal PLC.

“I just don’t like what Merck did here,” said Uustal. “It’s not fair to the victims. It makes it very, very difficult for victims to find a new lawyer if they don’t want to settle. These folks just don’t know what to do or where to turn.”

About Kelley/Uustal

Robert Kelley and John Uustal formed their team of seasoned trial attorneys with more than 50 years of combined courtroom experience and more than 100 jury trials. The firm focuses its practice on securing compensation for clients who have been left physically and/or financially devastated by a catastrophic injury or event. The attorneys have been instrumental in securing more than $250 million in jury awards and settlements for clients. For more information, visit www.justiceforall.com.

Toll Free Nationwide
888-522-6601
Email Us
contact@justiceforall.com

Posted by: Never Mind | June 25, 2008 12:32 AM

Paul, I've never seen a study claiming frivolous litigation makes up 25-33% of the GNP. Further, consumers don't pay for all of the costs of litigation, whether frivolous or not. For example, I only buy American cars. So if Toyota gets hit with $10 billion in punitive damages, it won't raise the price of my cars. Contrast that with Medicare; I pay taxes and I therefore am subsidizing the negligence of corporations who release dangerous drugs.

I'm not a fan of loser-pays because it will have a chilling effect on lawsuits filed by average citizens against big corporations. However, I would also point out that trial lawyers do bear the burden of paying their own expenses, which can go into the millions on a big case.

Posted by: Justinian Lane | June 25, 2008 9:34 AM

True, some attorneys will invest heavily into the investigation, expecting a huge payoff in the end. They voluntarily do it.

The differece is that the defense is forced into it and there is no payoff at the end. If successful all they do is limit the amount they must pay - fighting off a five million dollar claim while spending one million to do it, is no victory - only the smaller loss. Ultimately, in our civil justice system the defense ALWAYS loses - it is just a question of the scope of the loss

There is no "justice" in the civil justice system until such time as a successful defendant is brought back to the financial situation they were in absent the lawsuit.

"Loser pays" would certainly have a chulling effect on bogus litigation (which would be a very good thing for society) - I doubt that it would stop truly meritorious litigation

Posted by: Paul W Dennis | June 25, 2008 11:21 PM

$4.85 Billion is a lot of money and sounds like it. On the other hand, we have heard Merck profited by as much as $10 billion through the sale of Vioxx. My question is: Why should Merck be allowed to retain ANY of its profit from a drug that has killed thousands and ruined the lives of many thousands more, and was eventually withdrawn from the market? My wife suffered both heart attack and stroke and "might" receive a greaty diminished settlement, from which her attorney will deduct his blood, and from which she will have to pay back Medicare and Tricare.

Something very wrong here!

Merck's entire profit from Vioxx should be paid to eligible claimants. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.

Posted by: John A. Smith | June 26, 2008 11:31 AM

$4.85 Billion is a lot of money and sounds like it. On the other hand, we have heard Merck profited by as much as $10 billion through the sale of Vioxx. My question is: Why should Merck be allowed to retain ANY of its profit from a drug that has killed thousands and ruined the lives of many thousands more, and was eventually withdrawn from the market? My wife suffered both heart attack and stroke and "might" receive a greaty diminished settlement, from which her attorney will deduct his blood, and from which she will have to pay back Medicare and Tricare.

Something very wrong here!

Merck's entire profit from Vioxx should be paid to eligible claimants. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.

Posted by: John A. Smith | June 26, 2008 11:34 AM

$4.85 Billion is a lot of money and sounds like it. On the other hand, we have heard Merck profited by as much as $10 billion through the sale of Vioxx. My question is: Why should Merck be allowed to retain ANY of its profit from a drug that has killed thousands and ruined the lives of many thousands more, and was eventually withdrawn from the market? My wife suffered both heart attack and stroke and "might" receive a greaty diminished settlement, from which her attorney will deduct his blood, and from which she will have to pay back Medicare and Tricare.

Something very wrong here!

Merck's entire profit from Vioxx should be paid to eligible claimants. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.

Posted by: John A. Smith | June 26, 2008 11:35 AM

$4.85 Billion is a lot of money and sounds like it. On the other hand, we have heard Merck profited by as much as $10 billion through the sale of Vioxx. My question is: Why should Merck be allowed to retain ANY of its profit from a drug that has killed thousands and ruined the lives of many thousands more, and was eventually withdrawn from the market? My wife suffered both heart attack and stroke and "might" receive a greaty diminished settlement, from which her attorney will deduct his blood, and from which she will have to pay back Medicare and Tricare.

Something very wrong here!

Merck's entire profit from Vioxx should be paid to eligible claimants. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.

Posted by: John A. Smith | June 26, 2008 11:35 AM

John, I'm sorry for your and your wife's suffering. I also hope your attorney is taking good care of you. I agree with you that under certain circumstances, a company should have to disgorge all of its profits. You're right, if Merck made $10 billion selling Vioxx, and only has to pay out $5 billion, well, the math speaks for itself.

There's a phrase called "buying the tort," and it describes when a defendant made the decision to commit a tort because the profit from the tort exceeds the costs. Damage caps will only make buying the tort easier.

Posted by: Justinian Lane | June 26, 2008 12:07 PM

My mother took Vioxx and died from it. She passed away September 28th 2003. I was only 22 years old. My life had really just started. I had no children and hadn't gotten married yet. Since then I have done those things and each time I accomplished one of these happy events in my life, I relived the fact that my mother wasn't there because she took a drug that was suppose to help her. My children and husband will never get to hear my mothers infectious laugh that she had. My children and husband will never know what a great woman she was. I only have stories to tell them. I accept this settlement in an effort to gain a little closer only but I think my mother life is worth a hundred times more then the profit that they made. I don't understand why we have to pay for the drugs that killed our family members. Haven't we paid enough.

Posted by: Stacey | June 27, 2008 12:18 PM

Well it is all fine that medicare and medicaide get there pay ... but in my situation I was a working tax payer till my heart attack took me out of work. A I had my own insurance to pay all of my bills, but I still bet they try and make me pay some back if that be the case I will not accept it and will go further on with it

Posted by: Doug | June 27, 2008 12:28 PM

Stacey, I'm very sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing a little bit about your mother with us. It's very important for us all to remember that real people died because they trusted Merck and the FDA to keep them safe.

Posted by: Justinian Lane | June 27, 2008 12:30 PM

If it wasn't so utterly tragic and murderous, one would almost have to just stare in wonder of the great planning Merck has done…don't think for a minute that all - decisions to let people die, only pull the drug when the last potential incremental profit was made, using the major mi/strokes to also cover up other problems (the "veil of cover"), use the "engine" of the MASS TORT "reform" craziness to drive towards a completely unfair and weird private agreement, the clogging of the courts by moving cases from the states to the Federal under the MDL "right" Merck won (and misused) to clog the dockets, use that docket clogging for scare purposes, dilution and stealing of civil rights, and so, so much more - I have to stop or this gets too long. But I have much written on what Merck's strategy might be - 9 months BEFORE the private “deal” - or is the word “deal supposed” to be "settlement"; and the similarity is alarming. To advance my own case, I studied Merck's moves, analyzed their cost/beenfis, and much more...it wasn’t too difficult to understand their comprehensive strategy; it was however, much to be puzzled over as way too many just “rolled over”, and did not exemplify the repudiation that they may have.
...

It is ALARMING, actually that is just so, so understated…it is miniscule in the larger scheme of what is happening - and we must hope that some smart, tough, no-nonsene legal minds, scholars, constitutional experts who WANT to protect the public's rights, will yet converge - and guess what? - it ain't over! - at least Canada has a bit more smarts..
...

The absolute sadness is the thousands and thousands of Vioxx victims, and that is what they are, who not only have had to endure Merck's (alleged) neglect, deceit and fraud and suffer heart attacks; but now are going through the ups and downs of getting shafted again!
...

Hey MASS TORT REFORM - you are still "full of yourselves and your cockiness is just so nutty; I really don't think you will have your way on tghis when the dust settles...butg in the meantime, I guess you shall maintain your smugness and scorn of the Vioxx victims while you have coffee with the attorneys who deserted their clients legal rights in droves...go ahead, have your fun for now; it is more than apparent that mean spirit is in your heart and minds...


Dennis Harrison
MBA - BGS


Are you also one of the disgusted, confused, and worse...litigants who feel that you have been boxed in to the MERCK "settlement" - and there are many ways.... Are you really hoping to find some compassionate individuals to dialogue with, an especially those in a similar or exact situation. then read on....
….
Vioxx Settlement - a group to relate to...heart - mi - stroke - bone - spine

…..

Mass Tort reform “hawks”, as well as many trial attorneys appear hopeful that the MSA (Master Settlement Agreement) is a “model”. Rather than perform their jobs as they were trained, they can convert much of it to mere paper pushing and administration; with interests of their clients being secondary to their own – there has been much written about that. However, surely their intellectual capacity ought to recognize that a rigorous, or at least a reasonable and fair set of standards should be the rule.
…..

There is a VIOXX EDUCATION PLAINTIFF EDUCATION GROUP (VPEG) for Vioxx Plaintiffs (now 340 and growing people). Regardless of the “settlement” official position - "things are not as they always appear...", the group REMAINS very, very relative and is gaining increasing “name brand recognition”. VPEG concerns, etc., need to be dealt with, and VPEG is becoming one of the lynchpins in converting a very unfair private settlement to what it should be…

VIOXX victims - we know you shall gain no comfort with the arrogant anti civil right violation HAWKS, also apparently MANY of your attorneys, and certainly not Merck… but there is a group of individuals in a similar situation and KNOW what you are going through. In some ways they are on the leading edge of knowing what the heck is going on and how Vioxx is being used by the MASS TORT LITIGATION REFORM hawsks who wish to pound the MASS TORT system to the ground, without a care in he world of legal fairness or your legal rights.
...
Whether - whether an "opt-in" who was also "boxed-in" -or- and "opt-out" who Merck is trying to "box-out"; if you are a vIOXX Plaintiff and wish to become part of a dialogue of nearly 350 individuals and growing, WHO CERTAINLY HAVE NOT GIVEN UP and are a bunch of decent, compassionate, human beings - all damaged by (allegedly…) Merck, in the VIOXX debacle...if you are a Plainitiff feel free to submit a request to join the VIOXX PLAINTIFF EDUCATION GROUP (VPEG) - at:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MerckSettlement/

Posted by: Dennis Harrison | June 27, 2008 2:35 PM

If it wasn't so utterly tragic and murderous, one would almost have to just stare in wonder of the great planning Merck has done…don't think for a minute that all - decisions to let people die, only pull the drug when the last potential incremental profit was made, using the major mi/strokes to also cover up other problems (the "veil of cover"), use the "engine" of the MASS TORT "reform" craziness to drive towards a completely unfair and weird private agreement, the clogging of the courts by moving cases from the states to the Federal under the MDL "right" Merck won (and misused) to clog the dockets, use that docket clogging for scare purposes, dilution and stealing of civil rights, and so, so much more - I have to stop or this gets too long. But I have much written on what Merck's strategy might be - 9 months BEFORE the private “deal” - or is the word “deal supposed” to be "settlement"; and the similarity is alarming. To advance my own case, I studied Merck's moves, analyzed their cost/beenfis, and much more...it wasn’t too difficult to understand their comprehensive strategy; it was however, much to be puzzled over as way too many just “rolled over”, and did not exemplify the repudiation that they may have.
...

It is ALARMING, actually that is just so, so understated…it is miniscule in the larger scheme of what is happening - and we must hope that some smart, tough, no-nonsene legal minds, scholars, constitutional experts who WANT to protect the public's rights, will yet converge - and guess what? - it ain't over! - at least Canada has a bit more smarts..
...

The absolute sadness is the thousands and thousands of Vioxx victims, and that is what they are, who not only have had to endure Merck's (alleged) neglect, deceit and fraud and suffer heart attacks; but now are going through the ups and downs of getting shafted again!
...

Hey MASS TORT REFORM - you are still "full of yourselves and your cockiness is just so nutty; I really don't think you will have your way on tghis when the dust settles...butg in the meantime, I guess you shall maintain your smugness and scorn of the Vioxx victims while you have coffee with the attorneys who deserted their clients legal rights in droves...go ahead, have your fun for now; it is more than apparent that mean spirit is in your heart and minds...


Dennis Harrison
MBA - BGS


Are you also one of the disgusted, confused, and worse...litigants who feel that you have been boxed in to the MERCK "settlement" - and there are many ways.... Are you really hoping to find some compassionate individuals to dialogue with, an especially those in a similar or exact situation. then read on....
….
Vioxx Settlement - a group to relate to...heart - mi - stroke - bone - spine

…..

Mass Tort reform “hawks”, as well as many trial attorneys appear hopeful that the MSA (Master Settlement Agreement) is a “model”. Rather than perform their jobs as they were trained, they can convert much of it to mere paper pushing and administration; with interests of their clients being secondary to their own – there has been much written about that. However, surely their intellectual capacity ought to recognize that a rigorous, or at least a reasonable and fair set of standards should be the rule.
…..

There is a VIOXX EDUCATION PLAINTIFF EDUCATION GROUP (VPEG) for Vioxx Plaintiffs (now 340 and growing people). Regardless of the “settlement” official position - "things are not as they always appear...", the group REMAINS very, very relative and is gaining increasing “name brand recognition”. VPEG concerns, etc., need to be dealt with, and VPEG is becoming one of the lynchpins in converting a very unfair private settlement to what it should be…

VIOXX victims - we know you shall gain no comfort with the arrogant anti civil right violation HAWKS, also apparently MANY of your attorneys, and certainly not Merck… but there is a group of individuals in a similar situation and KNOW what you are going through. In some ways they are on the leading edge of knowing what the heck is going on and how Vioxx is being used by the MASS TORT LITIGATION REFORM hawsks who wish to pound the MASS TORT system to the ground, without a care in he world of legal fairness or your legal rights.
...
Whether - whether an "opt-in" who was also "boxed-in" -or- and "opt-out" who Merck is trying to "box-out"; if you are a vIOXX Plaintiff and wish to become part of a dialogue of nearly 350 individuals and growing, WHO CERTAINLY HAVE NOT GIVEN UP and are a bunch of decent, compassionate, human beings - all damaged by (allegedly…) Merck, in the VIOXX debacle...if you are a Plainitiff feel free to submit a request to join the VIOXX PLAINTIFF EDUCATION GROUP (VPEG) - at:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MerckSettlement/

Posted by: Dennis Harrison | June 27, 2008 2:38 PM

What another tragedy - just want in hex does the government think it is doing. There seems to be an increasingly number of mean spirited individuals, organizations, and so much more - with pure profit or other motives just overwhelming any concept of humanity. Vioxx is an example of (allegedly) calculated - I mean cost/benefit of how many would die IF proper warnings were withheld vs. the profit of not even warning. I don't mean an overall assessment of costs/benefits to the whole - which is controversial in itself, but at least looks for the benefit of the whole; I mean the actual decision not to warn of something known...this kind of thing happens in so many ways, like the main topic here, and so much more. Civil rights, more than is commonly - or even hardly, known - are just sliding down the toilet. In re to Vioxx, I would like to take the opportunity is I am allowed to mention the following group - VPEG - which is attempting to reverse the terrible, terrible "settlement" in which the average heart attack victim - lives in shatters more often than not, a reduced life expectancy, more problems likely in many cases - receiving such a pittance, let alone having to sign all their potential future rights away. The "settlement" at near $5B sounds like a lot? - Divide it by the 50,000+ affected and find that average is $100,000. Ok adjust it for some that should not receive compensation, but then REDUCE it for paying back hospitals (which Merck, not the litigants, should be doing by the way), what amounts to unearned income by many attorneys - who did NOT do their jobs and were hoping for a settlement so they could say - take it or leave it, and NOT do their work - so much on this I won't go farther though, too much too write.... the WILD WEST APPROACH of PRIVATE SETTLEMENTS must be stopped, and the Vioxx litigation is a line in the sand...please take note...

Posted by: badbonehealing | June 27, 2008 2:41 PM

SENT TO MDL - APRIL 28, 2008


NOTE: I suggest that the door is open for claiming civil rights violations and BUILDING YOUR COERCISON CASES...


... Merck's strategy, exploitation of the MDL process, riding the public's very much misunderstood thoughts on legal reform, and lobbying for Mass Tort reform turned into privatization, continues to work! … occurred with a major reason for an attorney to gain their clients participation (a very large $ payback versus the work done and virtually eliminating attorney risk), as well as much work done by the negotiating parties to ensure that most attorneys would simply recommend that their clients accept the terms of the settlement. At the same time, it seemed to be a goal of the settlement terms to make it as hard as possible to "opt-out" of the agreement. VPEG is strewn with "opt-ins" who assuredly did so only under undue stress. The artificial process of medical assessment (the GATE process) also provided a convenient method for attorneys to claim that they were being ethical.


Witnessing so many individuals, in spite of vehement objection and good reason not to accept the settlement, finally doing so, Mr. Harrison is reminded of the 5 stages of grief model


- denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance - are also transferable to personal change and emotional upset resulting from factors other than death and dying: Dr Elisabeth Kübler- www.businessballs.com/elisabeth_kubler_ross_five_stages_of_grief.htm


There is no doubt that too many "opt-ins", regardless of what they signed, in reality felt that they were boxed in from several directions. Much more often than not, they are convinced that this is by design, not via chance. "Coerced", "brow-beaten", "fear mongered" and "abandoned" became normal VPEG lexicon. In spite of the disgust and rage of the litigants, accompanied by vehement denial that they would ever accept this "pittance" most litigants go on to the last of the 5 stages of grief - ACCEPTANCE. However, this "acceptance' came with vows to somehow find a way(s) to make it known that "accepting" was basically the equivalent of being "pummeled". One is very hard pressed to find even just a few members that accepted based upon appropriate representation, let alone "happy" with the settlement. Acceptance is almost exclusively the domain of just giving up, feeling that something is better than nothing, having too many financial and other hardships (from their MI/stroked problems) to continue otherwise, and the realization that unfairly they were being effectively denied reasonable efforts to gain legal representation elsewhere.

bones
Dennis Harrison

Posted by: Dennis Harrison | October 2, 2008 11:02 PM

By Been there, done that Have been coerced and under duress From Piscataway, NJ, 10/02/2008

THIS was provided, a while back to me. I am pro se, and do not need to worry about attorney recrimination, like so, so many I hear of all the time... So, I had requested if I could POST THIS concise, direct blog. And it DOES represent a majority view, by the way.
______________________________________


Subject: [MerckSettlement] My Post to - PUBLIC CITIZEN

Has your group looked at the so called VIOXX settlement at all? It seems like a cause that would interest you. They say it is the model for product liability cases if the future. The settlement is
horribly skewed towards Merck. It was "negotiated" by a small group of attorneys in a back room someplace. It forced is victims to sign away our rights and settle for "a pig in a poke" because we don't yet
have any idea of what if anything we'll be getting. We are penalized for any and just about all preexisting conditions - when in fact had
there been appropriate warnings our doctors would not have Rx'd Vioxx. (Much like birth control pills of today and smokers.) So many of us have completely lost our lives as we knew them and now we
are being victimized yet again by Merck aided and abetted by our lawyers who were supposed to be advocating for us. Personally? I am
in the MI group, bypass surgery, and several stents later I am still disabled (since 2001) and unable to work. I guess I must say that I am lucky - I still have my life and this drug killed and maimed (the
stroke folks) so many. The human toll is huge and Merck and the lawyers could care less. Merck wants to minimize what has happened to us and our lawyers are salivating in anticipation of a big payday
for little to no work. There is a group on Yahoo where many of us have told our stories - vPEG (vIOXX Plaintiff's Education Group), in addition to related goups AvPEG and RvPEG (Action, and RICO respectfully Plaintiff Education Group)

Posted by: Proxy for a very hurt MI patient | October 3, 2008 5:33 PM

• By Solomon Wiseman
From SLC, UT, 10/10/2008
Those doing research on the use of Vioxx should not mistake the rambling comments of Mr. Harrison as being representative of the majority of the plaintiffs in the Vioxx settlement.

• By Solomon Wiseman
From SLC, UT, 10/10/2008
Those doing research on the use of Vioxx should not mistake the rambling comments of Mr. Harrison as being representative of the majority of the plaintiffs in the Vioxx settlement.

Those people have evaluated the effects of Vioxx on themselves or family members, and agreed to the negotiated monetary settlement offered by Merck.

Google the words "Dennis Harrison Vioxx", and you will find that he has been posting this same nonsense all over the internet for years.

He is suffering from compulsive behavior issues, and even displays symptoms of psychosis.

The story of Vioxx, its use, side effects, and withdrawal should be researched and told.
I just hope that those doing that research can ignore those disturbed individuals who serve to only muddy the waters of an already complicated subject.

Mr. Solumn – YOU really don’t have a clue, do you? You may be the most unplugged person I have run into, certainly the most robust king of weird philosophy. Please, again, where is your interest in vIOXX lie? Please tell the truth and not philosophize.

Posted by: Q/A -bones | October 10, 2008 11:08 PM

Hello xxxxxxx – WARNING TO ALL – THIS IS LONG by blogging standards (not legal ones) – YOU CANNOT GET IT IN TWO SENTENCES. I DO NOT HAVE TIME TO KEEP TUNING IT TO MAKE IT SHORTER. PLEASE HIT DELETE IF NOT INTERESTED.

DEAD JAW is what happens after oral surgery, especially a tooth extracted when bone (jaw) does not heal. FOSAMAX "works" by inhibiting the body's natural ability to regenerate bone. Bone theoretically gets denser (biophosphates are imbedded in the bone, NOT because of bone growth). The jawbone is particularly susceptible. It is very serious, requires major surgery, and often leaves one deformed and also invites very dangerous infections. Worse, FOSAMAX and similar stay in bones up to 10 years. I tried to warn about FOSAMAX two years ago. Especially concurrent use of any cox-2 inhibitor as there is quite a bit of concern that since they basically stop the bone from healing (inflammation is necessary), and FOSAMAX and similar stops natural bone regeneration - double whammy.

There are also studies revealing that long term use of FOSAMAX and similar can weaken and lead to broken femurs (like yours truly) and then the fracture never heals if on vIOXX (yours truly). Much more also. BG did try to slip “settlement” forms on me and I of course said NO. I asked the courts to help find a way to alert the public on Dec. 14, 2006. Merck successfully objected to my plea to notify the public and to extend the statute of limitations. I have studied the whole Merck vIOXX tragedy diligently. Along the way, I learned much about MI/stroke issues, the “settlement”, courts, PSC, you name it! Merck has (allegedly) hidden MAJOR vIOXX problem(s) behind even worse problems of MI/stroke. They have also failed to acknowledge pulmonary embolism, kidney damage and high blood pressure. (Allegedly), they have used the MI/stroke "admittance" to shield knowledge of the other problems - vIOXX is (allegedly) a poisonous drug WAY past the fraudulent GATE process suggestions. The $5B should be $10B, lawyer fees should be all paid by Merck, all subrogation by Merck, the GATE PROCESS needs real medical certification - not Merck’s (allegedly) fraudulent view which the PSC apparently did not even challenge. Why did the large law firms simply roll over? We all now really know. Simply put, fair access to the courts has been denied, CIVIL RIGHTS have been violated, and the “average” mi/stroke litigant is pigeon holed into a (allegedly) corrupt, colluded, and fraudulent “settlement”. This was an agreement without real negotiations, a self imposed ‘fine” by Merck which is really only a small cost of doing business.

In re to FOSAMAX - it gets worse, there are studies suggesting that the every day wear and tear "stress fractures" of feet and spines often will not heal because of vIOXX and/or FOSAMAX. It becomes noticeable as one ages. It HURTS and can be very debilitating.

There is a WHOLE WORLD OF issues Merck just will not admit, meantime people do not have a clue how to treat their conditions or what caused them. This is why I have so tried to warn the public, now going on two years by the way. I did ask the courts to intercede, they refused. I DID suggest to the courts that I would make the public aware by myself if I had to. I also chose to also use the knowledge I acquired to warn the “settlement” individuals that Merck/PSC (allegedly) is pulling another fast one. I am just fine in my own litigation. I am certainly not bitter of initially not being in the settlement (again, I refused). Almost like it is a duty to help others at this point so they may have a chance of being FAIRLY treated -nothing else behind it! Too bad a few loud voices try to drown me out - with the additional support (I have much though) this “settlement” (my opinion) could be improved more rapidly.

I do pray that you do not have Dead Jaw. I am finding out that I may have it also, but I am not sure yet.

Sincerely

Dennis Harrison

Posted by: badbonehealing (some gave nickname bones) | October 17, 2008 4:20 AM

Mr. Wiseman - WE have the PROOF, BIG TIME - and this is just the beginning fellow. We have evidence that you are a MERCK (MURK) shill - $750 an hour is not bad, I guess that is why you break the code of humanity.

Anyway, this was filed/docketed with the MDL-1657 with MAJOR CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATIONS DOCUMENTED. Funny, huh how the MDL-1657 has JUST SAT ON IT. Bad mistake there....

For this WEB site, my next POST will be about MASS TORT (D)eform actually, IT IS AS BIT LONG FOR A POST, so please just feel free not to read it if it is too long. I do know, Mr. Wiseman that you are merely full of a few one-liners here and there and I am growing weary of your same old bulloney and blah, blah, blah... mine are chock full of information - yours are just pernicious, mean spirited anti-humane remarks...


The VIOXX SETTLEMENT

Has its private nature resulted in an unacceptable level of attorney-client representation issues?

TABLE OF CONTENTS


I INTRODUCTION 3 - 7

II The VIOXX Plaintiff Education Group (VPEG) 8 - 13

III VPEG comments 14 - 19

IV VPEG letters 20 - 41

V VPEG ‘talking” points 42 - 43

Appendix

A - Merck’s strategy - an analysis on 1-13-2007; 45 - 49
nine months before settlement announced

B - MASS TORT REFORM excerpts & observations
50 - 54

C - Suggestions for going forward – food for thought
55 - 58

Posted by: bones | November 2, 2008 12:50 AM


Some MASS TORT REFORM excerpts and observations
Content Copyright 2007, Portfolio Media, Inc.

“The uptake of the settlement seems to confirm, and if the program does succeed, people will look at this and learn from this as a positive example,” said Ted Mayer, an attorney with Hughes Hubbard & Reed who is a member of Merck's coordinating defense counsel.

OBSERVATION: A program which has placed so many attorney-client relationships in such disarray cannot be considered successful. While a purposeful laissez faire methodology is often useful in a business environment/negotiations – the Vioxx settlement is not purely a business negotiation – it is the convergence of business and legal. Both interests must be preserved and not get “lost”. This will require active court involvement to define and protect the legal rights that are certainly at risk; the playing field will not be level without active court involvement.

The Vioxx settlement should be viewed (which is useful input) as a learning experience. It showcases what happens when active court involvement in defining the parameters is not a requirement. The Vioxx settlement can be viewed as a real life example of what can happen within private negotiations unbounded by the sheer broad strength of a major corporation, which has purely and simply maximization of profits in its soul – certainly not ensuring that the rights coming into the court system are not lost going out of the court system.

Profit motivation is the engine of innovation and motivation. However, it will clear all in its path solely in the name of profit, and often needs “optimal” (but not excessive) supervision. This not only ensures the ultimate goal of overall public interest, but paradoxically ensures the long term survival of the corporation itself. Mr. Harrison is and has always been a proponent of free markets, but recognizes the danger of an unbridled corporation.

“I propose Vioxx is the model for future cases, especially cases where you have a known injury,” said Edward Blizzard, an attorney with Blizzard McCarthy & Nabers LLP who was part of the plaintiffs' Vioxx Negotiating Committee.

OBSERVATION: how could the Vioxx settlement be a “model” at this point? It’s benefits clearly do no outweigh its risks to civil rights nor contribute towards proper corporate behavior. It is merely the first large scale effort at privatization fraught with the issues so common at first. Rather than “model”, the term “proto-type” seems more befitting. However, real people, with real problems are being severely and unfairly impacted, and that must also be dealt with. A prototype evolving into a model must be done in a manner befitting of a first attempt at privatization. This includes safeguards as mentioned, and must be followed up to assess both defendant AND litigant fairness before it could even conceivably be considered a model. This (proposing it as a “model”) seems to be a very rash statement at this stage, and sends a dangerous message to the public, to Merck and other drug companies seeking draconian measure of risk relief, and to attorneys across the land who can begin to enjoy much of their business being essentially paperwork.


“The big improvement is that this is a settlement that might actually deliver settlement,” said Richard Nagareda, a mass tort professor at Vanderbilt University Law School who wrote the book "Mass Torts in a World of Settlement." “The big difficulty the law has been encountering is developing some sort of framework, such as class settlement or bankruptcy, that brings some binding peace for litigation.”

OBSERVATION: Is it is a major improvement to deliver a settlement that “actually” delivers a very poor settlement? One where the Plaintiffs are not properly represented? One where the “reward” valuation is so low that thousands of coerced opt-ins so reluctantly accepted? One which in no way discourages the alleged behavior, and in fact encourages such errant behavior? It begs the question if goals include – justice, fairness, and incentive for good corporate behavior, or a settlement unto itself?


With the prospect of tens of thousands of cases overloading court dockets, judges overseeing Vioxx cases, including Judge Eldon E. Fallon of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana and Judge Carol Higbee of the New Jersey Superior Court, had appointed six trial attorneys to represent Vioxx plaintiffs in settlement negotiations with Merck. “One of the reasons the private settlement structure works so well is that it is not bogged down in appeals,” Blizzard said. “People can get their money relatively quickly.”

OBSERVATION: Statements imply that “the private settlement structure works so well”. are quite premature. The barrage of statements seems to be more of a sales pitch than a statement of facts. Of course the docket issue needs to be addressed; and perhaps privatization has a place. Yes, it would seem to need to minimize appeals – but not by what amounts to the equivalent of coercion to sign away rights. Work the appeal issues early, by gaining defendant AND litigant agreement up-front which would minimize the appeal issues – don’t spring such an unfair settlement on litigants who essentially have been forced into a situation to have no options except to agree to the terms and sign away their appeal grounds. “People can get their money relatively quickly” is not a good excuse for such very low valuations. The insurance industry is often known to leverage the desperate financial plight of an individual, and surely Merck has let time and financial desperation be a leveraging tool also.

“The fact it is a private settlement agreement is probably the most unique factor in my experience,” said Grant Kaiser, an attorney representing several Vioxx plaintiffs. “It removes obstacles presented by a class action settlement but give the benefits of a class action settlement.” For instance, he said a court under a class action could “put their finger on the scale for one side or another,” as part of the approval process for a class action deal.

OBSERVATION: “unique” means nothing unto itself. The reference to “finger on the scale…” is quite misleading. This would seem to suggest that it is better to entirely remove the court from the scale of justice. How can one come to terms with that concept? Vanishing the court from the scales of justice is unfair, unwise and dangerous. Most certainly would rather that the “finger” be the finger of justice rather than the finger of an interested, powerful corporation as Merck. The legal “obstacles” of a class action are there for reasons of justice and fairness – the speaker here doesn’t seem too interested in an environment which protects litigant’s rights.

Ronald Benjamin, an attorney representing more than 100 Vioxx plaintiffs, has filed an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit against the agreement, arguing that the settlement is illegal. “This is not a private settlement,” Benjamin said. “The people I represent never consented to attorneys in Louisiana consenting to an agreement on our behalf.”

OBSERVATION: Mr. Harrison has (above) presented the argument for proper litigant representation up-front in the negotiation parameter definition, safeguards throughout the negotiation, and follow-up and assessment as to the success of the agreement. Mr. Benjamin is right in vehemently protesting that his clients were not represented properly – i.e. they never consented, directly or properly indirectly, to have the NPC negotiate in their behalf. Proceeding without active involvement of Plaintiff’s directly approved counsel, who need to truly represent their clients is not consistent with the right for legal representation. The settlement was more oriented to just ending the litigation than to provide justice – the results are speaking for themselves.


He (Ronald Benjamin) said the plaintiffs' negotiating committee had no right to reach the settlement because the district court had rejected class certification in the case, which under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure would have allowed lead counsel to negotiate a settlement. “So they decided to simply ignore the rule and do it anyway, which as far as I'm concerned, is preposterous,” Benjamin said. “The issue the [appeals] court has to decide is whether they are going to let a group of private lawyers settle claims on behalf of clients they don't represent.

OBSERVATION: One can easily interpolate that the average litigant in whether opt-in or opt-out certainly does not feel that their legal rights were represented whether it be within the settlement definition/negotiation, or the decision to accept/reject the offer.

Benjamin said the deal was unfair because it excluded a large number of plaintiffs, such as those who suffered transient ischemic attacks, while also letting Merck off the hook when they could “easily” pay up to $70 billion. Anthony Sebok, a mass torts professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University, said there would be questions about whether the recruitment of plaintiffs lawyers to reach a settlement will be permitted in the future.

OBSERVATION: part of the negotiations and seeking leverage by the litigant negotiating team should have been both what the fair reward should be and if Merck could afford the reward. This is one of the reasons why the business acumen and financial analysis capabilities, seeming to have been a missing resource within the PSC/NSC, should have been a requirement in the litigant negotiating team. The courts could assure this if private settlements do proceed are defined with active court supervision.

Mr. Harrison, with a major financial analysis background, has separately concluded that the estimates of Mr. Benjaim’s financial estimates are reasonable. Merck’s income statement continues to be very strong, and incredibly if the settlement is allowed to proceed, the cost will have been a minor blimp on Merck’s radar screen; merely a cost to be managed, not a penalty to be avoided in the future.Wall Street confirmed this. Proper financial insights within the NPC should have been concluded, and that should have been major leverage for the NPC.


…“I think the idea of plaintiffs lawyers making side deals with the defense is a very controversial idea,” Sebok said.

OBSERVATION: Agreed.


The Vioxx agreement also set up a system for pay claims based on several factors, including a plaintiff's health condition prior to the alleged injury, his age and how long he had been taking the drug. To be awarded damages, plaintiffs have to pass three gates: proof of injury, proof they took Vioxx within 14 days of their injury and proof they had been taking the medication for some time. “We wanted to design a program for the qualifying cases…

OBSERVATION: Merck does say “we” wanted to design a program for qualifying cases – that is a major part of the problem – there is too much “we” in “we”. While Merck is due input, they are not due such dominance in defining the artificial GATE process – they are too interested of a party. Proper legal safeguards could be put into place (and still can!) to ensure that the GATE process is represented upon more scientific background; post usage data could have been utilized by the NPC via statistical sampling, etc.. Merck’s biased opinion was not countered effectively by the PSC/NPC. If an active role had been defined for the court to supervise and ensure the litigants rights were not lost - then a more robust negotiating team (with the inclusion of finance, business, negotiating, statistical individuals) could have ensured that the ever so vital GATE process was at least fairly evaluated by an independent medical group, etc.


Mayer said. “We have no interest in a settlement that allows plaintiffs to cherry-pick plaintiffs, that encourages plaintiffs firms to sit on the sidelines even if the settlement is a good deal for their clients and hold up the company. “ Plaintiffs firms that initially had reservations about the settlement's details have since been converted.

OBSERVATION: “converted” in a sense that they (Plaintiffs firms) realized that it was primarily in their interests, not generally in their clients, and that they had tools available to “cover” their ethical duties…


Rein also believes the Vioxx system of evaluating injury and causation to arrive at a damage estimate would also likely be included in future settlements.

OBSERVATION: The concept of a GATE process seems to have validity. However, that said one would certainly hope that safeguards are put in place to ensure that this central go/no-go decision process was negotiated fairly as noted above, and then evaluated for fairness and supporting of a standard of medical science. There are no such real assurances in the Vioxx settlement. Also when new medical information becomes known, especially during the administration of a settlement, it is not fair to simply ignore it within a GATE process because of timing and technicality. New information must have a way to become part of the Gate definition.


Theodore Frank, the director of the American Enterprise Institute's Legal Center for the Public Interest, said Merck's strong position aided in reaching the deal. “Merck’s success in court and the lack of a smoking gun demonstrating wrongdoing meant they had a lot of leverage to negotiate favorable provisions,” Frank said. “To the extent future defendants can achieve such leverage in mass tort litigation, and to the extent the Vioxx settlement proves to be successful, we should see many elements be replicated.”

OBSERVATION: Yes Merck was very good at achieving “such leverage” – that is a point Mr. Harrison is trying to make – they saw the uneven playing field and went for the touchdown!

Until the court ensures fairness, one would hope that most of the elements are NOT repeated. Merck’s strong “leverage” existed because the PNC was not a competent negotiator in terms of having the proper team members and resources. The “lack of a smoking gun” is Mr. Frank’s opinion and seems to cloud the issue of weighing evidence. Must there be one single “smoking gun”?. One can certainly argue that there was some smoke here and there – that residual “smoke” came from somewhere.

Mr. Frank is a major proponent of TORT litigation reform and feels that the meager awards of the Vioxx victims are more than adequate. He has stated this in very unflattering terms. Mr. Frank seems to place much more value on the technical aspects of the legal field, and not goals of fairness and justice.

Trial experiences were not statistically valid, did not have the benefit of full discovery, were done at the peak level of Merck public sympathy, and were done before the issue of strategy consistency across (Vioxx, Fosamax, Vytorin…) and within drugs. Arguments that Mr. Frank has made in his blog that statistical reasonability is not necessary continue to perplex Mr. Harrison.

Posted by: Dennis Harrison | November 2, 2008 12:56 AM

Remember the infamous PSC FORM letter? The one that "browbeat" attorneys all over the country to submit to the wishes of the PSC? The same one that MOST attorneys did not even bother to at least customize a bit (i.e. they just sent it on as is). The coercision and duress it created by vIOXX litigants is so darn obvious…. Please understand though, I am guessing/estimating about 5% of the attorneys involved DID/ARE trying to help their clients - but they are pigeon holed also and face their own constraints/bullies…. There are INDEED some great attorney's out there thank GOD – but they are hard to find the ones brave enough to go against the BAR which punishes them… nevertheless a few try, and I would only applaud them. The others fall into a range but likely their innate humanity still has a spark and they can yet help do the right thing….

I wish that the attorneys, the ones doing the RIGHT thing, the ones not doing the RIGHT thing but actually wish to, and even the ones doing the WRONG things join self (not a lawyer) and MANY others in turning this chapter of legal INJUSTICE - likely the WORST of all time in re to the massive insult it has imparted, around.

I am speaking for myself, but I so pray that it helps assist getting attorneys involved in gaining the nerve to stand up to their own masses. Shall enough attorneys stand up to this great wrong, and with SUCH SKILL so abundant, frankly the Merck/vIOXX coercision/duress/CIVIL RIGHTS issues can be turned around – including Exemption of the pharmaceutical industry (GOMEZ via MDL-1657 ruling provides a glimpse). The attorneys (strong opinion) will find their clients very welcoming shall they turn their opinions and efforts 180 degrees towards the direction they need to be - Merck, the PSC, and the COURTS. The (alleged) collusion is quite well known. There is evidence that NOW even the attorneys are getting shafted by Merck. Merck bullies and gets off on the CHEAP (10 cents to the dollar is quite well known also), but THEY are just so greedy, they are not stopping there… they seem to wish to go further and even seem to have no problem with giving grief to the same attorney’s who went along with the PSC commands. Merck just cannot get enough greed - the more they get, the more they want.

I am nearly 56. I have seen way too much tragedy in my life, self and others. I have an impeccable record, never been in legal trouble nor did wrong. Our Generation, self included, LET this happen (peeling away our CIVIL RIGHTS like ONIONS) by inaction and lethargy. I wish to spend how many years it NOW takes to stop it – for self a line in the sand has been drawn, big time. We need the legal field to help lead our way out of this legal AND pharmaceutical mess we allowed, implicitly and lethargically to happen. We can fix it, please attorneys, please help us regain the humanity we used to have….

An example of coercision - I will more than argue that this is very, very representative percentage wise of the 50,000+.... These questions, AND MORE – need to be sent out to the 50,000+ to GET TO THE TRUTH. I would even suggest that the litigants would be more than forgiving to the same attorneys that they are having major issues with, if ONLY the attorneys would finally (some are starting…) en mass say, enough is enough and true justice and humanity must prevail…

Take a look below…

I feel the SETTLEMENT was fair – 2

I do NOT feel the SETTLEMENT was fair - 26

I signed COMPLETELY free, willing and feeling it was fair – 0

I felt coerced for one of several reasons and felt that my CIVIL RIGHTS
were VIOLATED - 23

I feel I was represented appropriately - 3

I feel I was NOT reprsented appropriately - 23

Posted by: Dennis Harrison | November 2, 2008 8:33 AM

This is NOT a vPEG sanctioned view, but frankly just sickened me today…

Please, put this in proper perspective – it is not a “sure thing”, but I am extremely concerned that it fits the puzzle that WE have been discovering over the last ten months in quite a sickening way. Frankly, all of the elements are right in front of us. I only wish I am able to take 6-8 weeks and document in this in a way one does not often see. It is not a view endorsed, obviously, by vPEG (yet?), but I have always done the best I can to immediately provide view/thoughts, and even recognizing that I sometimes do so to fast. Please just place it into the proper perspective and memory part of your brain and “think about it” for now..

While I remain stunned and depressed IF there is Merit here, I am also now, more determined than ever to dedicate my own personal lifetime, all of it - to this issue. Funding that I may, hopefully, receive from my case – which may expand in many ways incidentally WOULD find itself in a major way to fight the terrible injustice I see around the corner. In fact, I now view the litigation I am involved in as HAVING to STEP to the PLATE much harder and faster as such. The below is (to me) so, so piercing one’s heart and stomach… I am just, for the moment till I digest it further, so depressed… Think I am not serious, just do a google on my name and various things like vIOXX, vPEG, Merck, etc. and soak the last two+ years in…

Today, a theory was advanced that should it have merit, frankly makes my stomach sick and I am very serous when I tell you that I have spent the last 6 hours shocked and saddened, it really has taken the wind out of me. It is one that the MSA (the agreement) was actually written so that it could then be transferred into LAW by Congress… and the pharma, and other industry will use it (as planned) to shield themselves from MASS TORTS.

That does not mean that locally one cannot sue for being run over by a car, but it WOULD mean that damage perpetuated by a drug company will have one heck of a hard time gaining any shred of adequate compensation for the rest of our lives, and our children’s also. It will allow the adequate testing needed to come out of the laboratory and into the public and will discourage proper pharma post-marketing tracking/analysis. It will make litigation merely a fixed, product life cycle cost. By providing fixed costs and capping risk, it will then permit other reckless and too risky behavior by the pharma industry. The ramifications get worse….

Really, I have spent the last 6 hours sickened by what I now see as a real possibility, unless MAJOR NOISE IS MADE to the public, the Attorney Generals, the US Supreme Court, and the best we can do to warn Congress. It will complete the “loop” and it all fits very well. I am not a radical – in fact I have quite conservative values in re to family and right/wrong – but in re to CIVIL RIGHTS of MANY kinds, I would consider myself in the liberal camp, as I DO see movement towards as I say – “peeling away our CIVIL RIGHTS like onions”.

Shall it have merit, it is one of the worst things that we have seen in our lifetimes in re to real perversion of our Legal System; with Pharma/the courts and the large firms largely in control of protecting pharma, and now looking to suggest to Congress – “we have the perfect solution – look, it’s already done… all you need to do is sign on the dotted line, and you can go tell your constituents how well you FOUGHT for TORT REFORM (actually is DEFORM) - but the PUBLIC does not, cannot yet currently differentiate between frivolous litigation (and of course we understand that) and the massive fraud and collusion taking place under the guise of “TORT REFORM”.

Shall it have merit, it will mean that we really have to step up our efforts as described above, yet we are now “stuck” waiting for the inevitable of the “sign away” right clauses to clamp down too many. BUT on the other hand, as described, it DOES seem that we have at least a chance for opt-ins to find their way out of that (i.e. coercison, duress), we have opt-outs to carry it forward, we have “left-outs” to help us right this horrible momentum, we have the ol’ “kick-outs” that might be able to contribute and of course will have an increasing pool of pro se’s….

PLUS, one would feel I (I don’t know) that the “sign away rights might clamp down on future medical litigation – but CIVIL RIGHTS might be different, RICO might/is (I believe) different (but for the few), and of course “coercison and duress” should receive their proper documentation and pursuit.

This DOES NOT at all mean it is over, it may mean that we need to REALLY recognize that WE have just begun. IF you are a vIOXX Plaintiff and wish to get involved, in addition to learning/educating/sharing – please feel free to apply:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MerckSettlement/

Posted by: Dennis Harrison | November 6, 2008 9:53 PM

.. A dangerous precedent of severe and obvious manipulation of petitioner’s rights by the court (MDL-1657) as well as approximately at least 50,000 American Citizens, must be reversed. As will be shown, constitutional rights have been violated by unethical and illegal actions of the courts and the defendant. These flagrant violations in suppressing the petitioners right to proper judicial intervention must be addressed in order to maintain the sovereign rights of the petitioner and the aformentioned 50,000 American Citizens. The court must decide if denying the petitioner’s rights in favor of protecting the defendant (Merck) is constitutional.

... the dangerous precedent of illegal manipulation by the court system (MDL-1657) to trample... rights will be in effect sanctioned and encouraged, and thus continue to degrade and corrupt the sovereignty of the courts with the increasing and undue power of the pharmaceutical industry. Besides proper and constitutional functioning of the courts now being in a delicate balance and at risk of being violated, there is a very substantial amount of documented evidence of hundreds of thousands of American Citizens being placed in both unreasonable physical danger and being denied constitutional rights to their fair day in the court system. Such a trampling of their rights provides further incentive by Merck and the pharmaceutical industry to illegally invade government agencies and the courts. Thousands and thousands of American Citizens have had their constitutional right to justice obviously denied. The evidence is documented (and available), substantial and alarming. Tragic, coercisive, illegal and unethical collusive methods have clearly been instituted by the MDL-1657... is confident that proper investigation into the massive trampling of Civil Rights of the thousands so mentioned would lead to startling relevations.


Too much time has gone by with the pharmaceutical industry continuing to place their manipulating tentacles into government agencies (FDA) and the courts, of which MDL-1657 is here-in exemplified as trampling the petitioner’s rights and that of 50,000 other Americans. The public, more than ever, is experiencing an unprecedented number of deaths and maiming by an increasingly unfettered pharmaceutical industry who is well known to unduly and deceptively dominate and control the FDA via fraud and intimidation. The pharmaceutical industry is well known to have succeeded in its fraudulent and deceptive ways towards the FDA, and is now intent (and successfully doing so) upon reaching further to manipulate and collude with the courts. Further Merck/pharma has colluded with the courts in gaining unethical and illegal coercision with very large, powerful law firms (again, this is very well documented). This further increases profits by turning healthy potential litigation, which acts as a proper deterrent, into mere fixed costs which only have to be managed as a predictable expense. It should be emphasized that a business that reduces costs and risks in one area, is apt to increase it in another, and the gallop towards incomplete testing and premature product introduction will thus be encouraged. A prime example of the above is obvious in the MDL-1657 which is performing a very dangerous precedent as a dual role of “private settlement” administrator with judicial function. Surely that cannot be considered fair or just. Merck, as a proxy for the pharmaceutical industry is now in collusion with the courts (MDL-1657). There is an urgent need to regain/protect the public’s trampled upon legal rights as well as their physical well being.

Methods include “fast track” of drugs that have no real basis for such treatment, gaining legal expertise on how to utilize legal statute of limitations in well placed timing of when drug side affects either become obvious or the number are high enough that they can no longer be hidden form the public, tuning their ability to stall the FDA, honing their ability to discredit those in a position to challenge its methods and motives, the infamous “ghost writing” and “seed trials”, etc. The industry has a whole arsenal of deceitful and fraudulent methods now in its arsenal and has grown quite adept at multi-prong unethical and fraudulent methods of deceit, cover-up, and finding methods to manipulate the courts and law firms.

The net result is that pharma has in effect been experimenting and killing for profit. Even with all of their well tuned and heavy arsenal of deception and fraud, they also have a very major tool that they can rely on if necessary, and in which no doubt encourages their aggressive and dangerous behavior. They have the ultimate foundation of using the law (or lack thereof) as a shield for protection, which shall it be necessary, is pharma’s ultimate trump card and presents a very dangerous tool of last resort as well as tragic justification for their wanton and scorn for public’s on balance welfare. Unless the law corrects this shield of protection, even if patchwork protection of the public takes place, the “shield” lies bare all protection of the public and encourages increasingly

There are fundamental strategies of manipulating the FDA and the legal system that have been honed by the industry to obtain maximum profit without proper or fair regard for public safety. The industry is also not incented to adequately provide and/or disclose post-market follow-up or even provide a glancing pass at transparency. Secrecy, stalling, and red-herring tactics are the name of the game. Even as Merck/pharma gain knowledge of problems with its drugs as they are prematurely provided to an unsuspecting public and physician deception, it continues to be more oriented towards cover-up, stalling, and maximizing illicit profit to actually fund the litigation! Worse, via highly unethical and likely illegal ‘private settlements” disguised with the misnomer of “TORT REFORM” Merck (leading the way for Pharma) in collusion with the lower courts has stolen the public’s constitutional right to seek litigation. Merck, most notably has scorned these rights and abused the legal system, with the lower courts cooperating. Merck submitted Fraudulent documents to the FDA, stalled corrective action, and knowingly and criminally left the public at risk. That

.. not being good enough, Merck undertook to collusively corrupt the lower courts in the name of “clearing the dockets”, blaming the victims themselves, working with the MDL-1657 PSC to develop “form letters” which amounted to “take this offer or you shall receive no cooperating council” and leaving near 50,000 Americans coerced into an agreement that they vehemently objected to, but had no where to go as their attorneys, NOT acting in their clients interests (much documentation exists) merely effectively abandoned them in droves. In fact, in the MDL-1657 transcripts one can see that the attorneys continued to state that “all of their clients loved this “settlement” from the very beginning, when in fact the empirical evidence was approximately about 80-90% against this. In affect, the attorneys blatantly and with only self serving interests lied to the presiding Judge Fallon; though the evidence would also show that Judge Fallon clearly knew this was not the case.

As indicated, the Courts have now also become “puppets” of the ever increasing power of the pharmaceutical industry, and petitioner alleges that Merck is spearheading the effort (for pharma in general) in many ways, including its collusion and corruption of the lower courts, who are scornfully denying the rights of the litigants that they are sworn to protect and be fair with. Example after example ... real life examples, of major court and attorney abuse of power and illegal coercision of the litigants. As the drug industry continues to grab an increasingly accelerating and inordinate amount of GNP it becomes ever increasingly all powerful and feels it is invincible. The courts are the latest tool of abuse on the radar screen, and the Vioxx “private settlement” is a major salvo in the direction of removing the courts and the healthy threat of litigation from any impediment to an ever dangerous and increasing insatiable thirst for pharmaceutical profits above all. As pharma has fine tuned and aligned its optimum short term/inadequate testing and premature product introduction with its massive shorter term, high margin new “product wonder drugs”, they are now able to fund the defeat of anything that gets in the way of these illicit profits. The increasing parade of pharma lawsuits represents the reckless abandonment of due safety diligence, FDA compliance, arrogant abuse of the court system, and collusion of the legal industry. Unless this is stopped, the public will undergo massive maiming and deaths that are simply unnecessary.

The United States Eastern District for Louisiana, Judge Eldon Fallon Order demonstration has appearance of a conflict of interest as he edges toward Bias and Prejudiced. Much has been written on this by legal scholars who see an extremely dangerous legal precedent being blazed by a Judge who appears to feel above the law and continues to blatantly disregard the Civil Rights of fair litigation. Judge Fallon should never have been allowed to act in the dual role of Merck Administrator and serve judicially in a respectful manner. Judge Fallon is in affect taking the law into his own hands. He conveniently leverages the law when it benefits the illegal and unfair settlement, and he side steps it when the law would apparently side track his off beat views. It is apparent that Judge Fallon is damaging the reputation of the court system in appearance and in deed.

… he continues to do so as he precided in the violation of at least 50,000 American Citizens who have had their Civil Rights stolen.

The Court for the Eastern District for Louisiana, and Judge Eldon Fallon, has become a puppet to Merck & Co. Inc. and the many Vioxx class action suits that have paraded into his court. Judge Fallon, has knowledge that there is No Federal Law or State Law for product liability for a defective prescription drug. However, under the auspice of setting on the Bench as a Judge for the Eastern District for Louisiana, he also acts as administrator and arbitrator for Merck and Merck’s settlement agreement which conflicts with his judicial responsibilities.

Posted by: tinhips | January 31, 2009 2:54 AM


Ya know I see blogs, discussions, yada, yada, yada by folks who know nothing about the Vioxx Settlement. They are not claimants and are only guessing about what is going on. The attorneys and the law firm handling the settlement are the only ones that know what is going on. The others are, for the lack of a better word, parisites trying to make a buck off their limited knowledge. I kept in close touch with my attorney and he kept me very well informed. I am getting a reasonable amount in my settlement. Yes, I had to pay the lawyer 32%(set by Judge Fallon) and pay my insurance company I had at the time of my surgery 10% (set by an agreement between the insurance companys and Judge Fallon) and the lawyers expenses of about $2000.00 (agreed on between my attorney and me. I hired a Tax Attorney who informed me the settlement was non-taxable and gave me a copy of the IRS Code and the letter he got from the IRS stating "Mr. XXXXX's settlement in non-taxable." "He does not owe any taxes on the settlement amount." I really don't see how that can be any more plain. I think everyone involved did a resonable job. So why don't you ambulance chasers go find another ambulance to chase.....

Posted by: Anonymous | July 11, 2009 12:39 PM