Vioxx is a brand name used by Merck & Co., Inc. (“Merck”) to market and distribute rofecoxib tablets, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory prescription drug. Merck obtained FDA approval on Vioxx in approximately April 1999 via a New Drug Application on a fast-track, 6-month approval process. Merck began distribution and sale of Vioxx throughout the United States in approximately May 1999. Despite knowledge in its clinical trials and post-marketing reports associating Vioxx with hypertension and/or hypertension-related adverse health effects, Merck marketed and promoted Vioxx as safe and effective for persons with hypertension, or persons who had risk factors for stroke or cardiac problems.
On September 30th, 2004, Merck removed Vioxx from the market in all countries because it was been associated with heart attacks, stroke, cardiovascular injuries and other side effects. Merck has removed Vioxx after an extended study showed that patients using Vioxx double their risk of having a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular injury. According to Merck, there are currently approximately 2 million people worldwide taking Vioxx and at least 84 million people have been prescribed Vioxx since it became available on the market in 1999.
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