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Pfizer Must Face Fen-Phen Injury Lawsuit

Filed September 5th, 2012 Laurie

Pfizer Inc.’s Wyeth unit has lost its bid to have claims over the drug Fen-Phen thrown out.

The unit has reserved over $21 billion to cover lawsuits filed by individuals who claimed the pills caused them primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH) – an often-fatal lung disease that arose in patients after years of using Fen-Phen.

U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III in Philadelphia today rejected Pfizer’s defense that no reliable evidence existed that could prove the drug caused the lung disease to appear even years after patients stopped taking it. Judge Bartle sided with experts hired by Plaintiffs who provided studies showing that PPH can be caused by the diet-drug combination more than 10 years after using the appetite suppressant.

A Pfizer spokesperson said the company is carefully weighing its legal options.
Wyeth at one time faced over 175,000 claims over the diet combination. The company was accused of hiding the drug’s risks to make a buck. Wyeth set aside $3.75 billion to settle claims from around the U.S. in 2000, but had to add $1.3 billion to the fund in 2004. The drug maker eventually boosted its reserves to more than $21 billion.

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