Claimants receive different comparative payments depending on the severity of their injuries and the length of vioxx fixation. To understand billing, we created an online billing calculator. The deal could still collapse, although lawyers, aware of the deal, said it was unlikely. The agreement will only become binding if 85% of the complainants agree to drop their cases and accept the agreement. This comparison will help put Vioxx behind Merck and drastically reduce Vioxx`s legal defense costs, which now stand at more than $600 million a year. But the deal is much smaller than Wall Street analysts and lawyers had predicted when Merck pulled Vioxx, and especially after the verdict in the first case. In 2005, most analysts estimated that Merck`s final responsibility for Vioxx would be between $10 billion and $25 billion. For applicants, the transaction will provide a degree of justification and financial ease. And the plaintiffs` companies will earn nearly $2 billion in fees at their standard rates of 33 to 40 percent. Under the terms of the agreement, Merck also agreed to plead guilty to committing an administrative offense charge for a single Violation of the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) for introducing a mislabeled drug into intergovernmental commerce and was fined $321 million. “The judge asked us to talk to the plaintiffs and we talk to them,” Kent Jarrell, a Merck spokesman, said Friday morning at 12:30 p.m. “For now, there is no final agreement.” Based on the fact that the 27,000 complaints cover approximately 47,000 groups of complainants, the average complainant receives just over $100,000 before lawyers` fees and expenses which usually gobbles up between 30 and 50 per cent of payments to complainants.
Plaintiffs who don`t want to accept the settlement can pursue their own claims, but since so many of the best trial lawyers in the U.S. approve of the deal, they may find it difficult to do so. The comparison, one of the largest ever in civil trials, comes from New Jersey to California after nearly 20 Vioxx civil lawsuits in the past two years. After losing a $253 million verdict in the first case, Merck won most of the other cases that were brought by the jury, so the plaintiffs have little choice but to agree. . . .