Just as Merck lawyers magnanimously gave Vioxx plaintiffs more time to get their paperwork done so they might share in the $4.85 billion settlement, a class action lawsuit over the painkiller has been certified--this time in Canada.
A judge in Saskatchewan awarded class-action status to the suit, which now includes about 2,500 claimants. Like its brethren to the south, this suit alleges that Vioxx caused serious, even fatal, side effects. Merck says it will appeal the decision because it thinks each plaintiff's case should be tried separately, citing that each one's medical experience is unique. That strategy worked in the U.S. We'll see how the Canadian courts respond.