I am writing to support state Senate Bill 1011- a bill that permits Vioxx victims to file a claim in court against Merck, the manufacturer.

In August 2001, my husband, Kal, suffered a devastating stroke, leaving him paralyzed on his right side and in a wheel chair. Kal was a Vioxx user at that time.

On Sept. 30, 2004, Vioxx was pulled from the market because it is now known to cause heart attacks and strokes.

My husband is time-barred from bringing a claim against Merck because he did not file a claim by August 2003, which was two years from the date of his stroke. However, he could not possibly have filed a claim against Merck within two years because Merck hid the news about Vioxx and its relationship to cardiovascular effects last year.

Senate Bill 1011 amends Oregon law to help Vioxx victims and other users of COX-II inhibitor drugs. It states that people injured by COX-II inhibitor drugs have two years to file a claim from the date they discovered the cause of their strokes or heart attacks.

Senate Bill 1011 works like statutes of limitations in other states.

In other states, Vioxx victims can sue within two years from the date they first discovered the cause of their heart attack or stroke.

According to evidence presented before the U.S. Senate, Merck knew about Vioxx and its relationship to heart attacks and strokes, while most everyone else, including doctors and people like my husband, did not. It makes no sense to protect a company like that at the expense of innocent victims.

Today, the Oregon Senate votes on Senate Bill 1011.

Our elected representatives should act to protect Oregonians over the special interests of the drug companies.

Jamie Larmi


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