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Yesterday the New Jersey Supreme Court gave Vioxx maker, Merck a gift. The ruling decertified a class action suit that had been approved by two lower courts. The Court decided that class action was not the appropriate way to deal with the cases brought about on behalf of insurance companies that seek to recoup payments they made for the drug that was recalled in 2004.

This is a huge victory for Merck seeing as if this ruling would have gone the other way plaintiffs would have gained valuable leverage to settle as a group. Experts estimate that a class action suit could have seen the drugmaker paying out as much as $20 billion. Claims will now have to be pursued on an individual basis and will likely cost Merck only a fraction of what their cost would have been in class action.

In November, U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon in New Orleans refused to grant class action status to Vioxx users and their relatives throughout the country who claim personal injury and wrongful death as a result of taking the drug.

For more information on this subject matter, please refer to the section on Drugs, Medical Devices, and Implants.

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