Rush for the cash in Vioxx Settlement

January 15, 2008 6:52:53 PM PST
New Jersey-based drugmaker Merck and lawyers for Vioxx lawsuit claimants expect a $4.85 billion settlement in the case to proceed.

Tens of thousands have tentatively signed on to the deal. More claims were pouring in just under the wire today.

As a first step to eventually getting a piece of the settlement, people claiming the withdrawn painkiller harmed them have until midnight to register, submitting details of their case but not yet committing to participate.

Merck and plaintiffs' lawyers proposed the deal in an effort to end the bulk of about 61,100 Vioxx cases.

Under the deal, $4 billion of the settlement will go to people who had heart attacks and the remainder to those who suffered strokes.

Merck pulled Vioxx from the market in 2004 amid evidence the blockbuster drug doubled risk of heart attack and stroke.