A US federal judge has ruled that thousands of cases filed by patients who suffered side affects of the painkiller Vioxx cannot be combined into one class action suit against Merck & Co, the manufacturers of the drug. Judges Eldon Fallon reasoned that since there were 7,000 different lawsuits with each having a unique complaint (with different injuries/side effects), all the cases cannot be put into on class action suit. It may be recalled that a wave of lawsuits targeted Merck following a study that found that the painkiller Vioxx might increase the chances of heart attacks or stroke by 100 percent. Following the report, Vioxx was taken off the market two years back. In his ruling Judge Fallon said; The difficulties in class management overwhelm any efficiencies that could be secured through classwide adjudication… While the majority of plaintiffs in this case allegedly suffered either a heart attack or stroke as a result of ingesting Vioxx, the extent of each plaintiff’s subsequent injuries varies widely. The judge said that plaintiffs could sue Merck individually. So far, Merck seems to be winning more than it is losing against the barrage of cases against it with 7 our of 11 judgments going in its favour. Almost 20 million people worldwide took Vioxx since it was launched in 1999 till 2004.