Pfizer To Pay $486M To Settle Lawsuit Over Celebrex, Bextra

Image courtesy of Chris Rief

Pharma giant Pfizer has agreed to pay $486 million to close the books on a decade-long class-action securities lawsuit related to two of the company’s pain relievers, Celebrex and Bextra.

The settlement resolves a lawsuit filed by investors in 2004 accusing the company of leaving them in the dark about risks associated with Celebrex and Bextra, Reuters reports.

According to the lawsuit, investors — who owned stock between Oct. 31, 2001 to Oct. 19, 2005 — claimed Pfizer repeatedly failed to provide information that suggested the use of these bestselling drugs might increase a patient’s risk for heart attack or stroke.

Investors accused Pfizer of concealing tests related to the issues as early as 1998.

Plaintiffs claimed in the lawsuit that when the withheld information was eventually made public, the company’s share prices dropped significantly.

Pfizer’s market value, Reuters reports, fell by roughly $70 billion from early October 2004 until the day after the class period ended.

Issues with Bextra and Celebrex came to light in late 2004 when rival pharma biggie Merck withdrew a similar product associated with cardiovascular risks.

Pfizer pulled Bextra from the U.S. market late the next year, and agreed in September 2009 to pay $2.3 billion to settle a U.S. government probe into the marketing of it and other drugs, Reuters reports.

The settlement comes just a month after a federal circuit court of appeals in New York reinstated the case following a federal judge’s rejection of the suit several years prior.

A spokesperson for Pfizer tells Market Exclusive that the settlement does not mean the company is admitting to any wrongdoing.

The company couldn’t confirm the deal, noting that the agreement is pending court approval and its terms will remain confidential until a formal agreement is approved.

Pfizer in $486 million settlement of Celebrex, Bextra litigation [Reuters]
Pfizer Inc. Settling Celebrex and Bextra Class Action Suit [Market Exclusive]