More than 44,000 claimants sign onto Vioxx settlement
Merck begins to conclude Vioxx woes. Source: Science Toys  
More than 44,000 of the approximately 47,000 individuals who registered eligible injuries have submitted some or all of the materials required for enrollment that could qualify them for an interim payment in the Vioxx trial to resolve state and federal MI and ischemic stroke (IS) claims filed against the company in the United States.

If all of the eligible submissions are completed in accordance with the settlement agreement, this would represent more than 93 percent of the eligible MI and IS claims previously registered in the trial, according to Vioxx maker Whitehouse, N.J.-based Merck. In addition, approximately 5,000 other claimants have also sought to enroll and their eligibility status has to be determined, the company said.

The meeting of the thresholds with enrollment documents in compliance with the settlement agreement would obligate Merck to pay $4.85 billion in installments into the resolution fund, which was agreed upon on Nov. 9, 2007.

Merck said that as of Feb. 29, the claims administrator reports more than 27,750 eligible MI claimants have initiated enrollment, more than 16,000 eligible IS claimants have initiated enrollment, more than 5,500 eligible MI and IS claimants alleging death as an injury have initiated enrollment, and more than 26,500 eligible MI and IS claimants alleging more than 12 months of use have initiated enrollment. Each of the numbers appears to represent at least 93 percent of the eligible claims in each category, according to the company.