I’ve been writing about the massive threat of the impending lawsuits against Merck due to its apparent reluctance to pull its blockbuster Vioxx medicine off the shelves once there were indications that it had harmful side effects. It’s a huge liability problem and I believe will change the very face of Big Pharma, with some significant consequences for health care in the long term. You can read about some of my earlier musings on this subject in Merck’s Vioxx Liability: The Death of Big Pharma?
I also thought that, of all things, the John Grishman pulp novel The King of Torts offered some interesting insight into the cut-throat world of tort and class action lawsuits, albeit in a fictional world.
Put these two together and it’s no surprise at all that the specter of a huge legal case and massive class action tort suit against one of the largest companies in the United States is pulling the lawyers out of the woodwork. Indeed, search on Google for Vioxx or Merck and you’ll find that all the advertisements are about the upcoming lawsuits, hoping to entice Vioxx users to sign on with one class action team or another.
Indeed, I have the Google AdSense program on this Web site, and look to your left to see what ads show up here targeting “Vioxx, Merck, Lawsuit”…
In this environment of sharks circling, it should be no surprise that I received an unsolicited email message, spam, from a law firm, inviting me to become part of their class action group. What’s surprising, perhaps, is that it took this long for me to notice spam about this particular issue.
The real question is: would anyone who could be part of this suit actually be swayed by a spam message that pops up in their mailbox with the subject Do You Have A Case Against Merck?
Sadly, I know the answer, and it’s probably “yes”. Tort lawsuits are all a numbers game, so all these legal teams care about is getting lots of people so they can have leverage in private negotiations with Merck for out-of-court settlements.
Oh, and just for your edification, here’s the message:
It seems to me that the Bar should be unhappy with this sort of tactic, but somehow looking at a message sent by “ETrack” of Boca Raton, Florida, on behalf of an entity called “vioxx-legalhelpcenter.org”, I expect that unwinding this back to a specific law firm, with all the so-called plausible deniability inherent in this sort of chain, means that there’s really nothing that can be done in this situation.
Other than to say “Yech. Look how low the legal profession has fallen. Again.”