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More than 59,000 register for Vioxx settlement

ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW ORLEANS — More than 59,000 people hope to share in drugmaker Merck and Co.’s settlement of lawsuits claiming injury from the painkiller Vioxx, and administrators have enough records to review about 9,100 of those claims.

Partners in the BrownGreer law firm gave the figures Friday to U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon, who is overseeing the nationwide settlement. Partner Orran Brown says more than 51,000 people or their attorneys have sent in formal enrollment forms.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Drew Ranier said an insurance company, a doctor and a hospital have refused to send in the records needed for such settlement packages. The judge says he will call them to court next week.

Merck agreed in November to pay $4.85 billion to settle personal injury lawsuits claiming that the once-popular painkiller caused a heart attack, stroke or death.

(Associated Press)