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Vioxx and workers' comp

Compensation claims over Merck's withdrawn painkiller could become a major issue for the workers' comp system, argues Joseph Paduda at Managed Care Matters. The logic: the drug was widely prescribed for muscle pain arising from workplace sprains and injuries; workers' comp law in most states has been "consistently interpreted" to treat as work-related injury the side effects of therapies addressing earlier work injury; and therefore workers may make claims against the workers' comp system over heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular events which they attribute to use of the drug (filing such suits would not in general bar them from also suing Merck). If workers' comp payers find themselves on the hook for such claims, they might in turn be entitled to sue Merck for reimbursement, but, writes Paduda, "this will be a long, messy, and expensive process."



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.