Processing Magazine

$894 million deal ends pain of Pfizer''s lawsuits

October 20, 2008
The Associated Press reports that Pfizer Inc. has reached an $894 million deal to settle the bulk of the lawsuits over its withdrawn pain reliever Bextra. The Pfizer agreement will also end lawsuits over its popular Celebrex, the only one of the three -- all in the same class of anti-inflammatory drugs and all linked to elevated risk of heart attacks and strokes -- still on the market. The company said it has agreements in principle to end up to 92 percent of personal injury lawsuits brought by people claiming Bextra and Celebrex caused heart attacks, strokes or other harm. The settlement includes roughly 7,000 personal injury cases, mainly plaintiffs who took Bextra. Pfizer hopes to finalize the settlement by year''s end. It also hopes to include additional claimants in the settlement and will fight any remaining personal injury suits with court motions or at trial. The proposed deal also would end suits by insurers and patients seeking to recover what they spent on Bextra and Celebrex, plus claims by state attorneys general that Pfizer improperly promoted Bextra. Out of the total settlement, $745 million will go to settle personal injury cases, $89 million will cover consumer fraud cases over reimbursement for money spent on the two drugs, and $60 million will cover settlements with attorneys general in the 33 states and the District of Columbia. Louisiana and Mississippi still have pending cases regarding Pfizer''s marketing. Pfizer withdrew Bextra from the market in 2005.