Meanwhile, in the UK, which has loser-pays, does not permit contingent fees, and generally does not have lottery-sized damages awards, both taxpayer-funded Legal Aid and private-market insurers have refused to advance payment for plaintiffs to proceed with their own claims against Merck over tenuous claims that Merck's sales of Vioxx was legally responsible for their health problems. UK attorneys will seek to forum-shop in New Jersey for hopes of avoiding British strictures (which include more rigorous expert evidentiary rules). One prominent British plaintiff blames Vioxx for her epilepsy, which perhaps explains why the government doesn't wish to use taxpayer money on her case. (BBC, "Patients lose Vioxx legal appeal", Nov. 29; Jon Robins, "'All I want is for this firm to be brought to justice'", The Observer, Dec. 4; BBC, "Thousands may seek Vioxx damages", Aug. 20).
British taxpayers won't foot Vioxx legal bills