Pfizer Inc., the world’s largest drug maker, reached a deal for $894 million to settle the majority of the lawsuits over its pain reliever Bextra, which has been taken off the market by the FDA due to increased risks of “cardiovascular events” (heart attack and stroke) and severe skin reactions. This deal is roughly one-fifth the size of that made by Merck & Co. to settle suits over its product Vioxx.
Also included in the settlement are suits over Pfizer’s anti-inflamatory Celebrex product, which remains on the market despite links to elevated risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Roughly 7,000 personal injury cases, about 92% of existing suits related to these two drugs, are included in the settlement. The deal is not finalized, but is agreed upon “in principle,” and likely to be finalized by the end of the year.
It is expected that this agreement would end suits by both patients and insurers seeking to recover money spent on Bextra and Celebrex, as well as state attorneys general claims that Pfizer improperly promoted Bextra.
Of the $894 million total settlement, $745 million will go toward settling personal injury cases. The remaining $149 million will be used to cover consumer fraud cases and settlements with attorneys general.
Bextra was withdrawm from the market by Pfizer in 2005, a year after Merck withdrew Vioxx.
For links to information about Betxra, Celebrex, Vioxx, and many other dangerous drugs, click here and scroll down for a table of drugs.
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