Corporate Compliance

Pharmaceutical manufacturer adds $1.275 billion to settlement fund

Compliance Monitor, January 11, 2005

Wyeth Pharmaceuticals lent its support this week to an additional settlement fund designed to compensate thousands of people who took the fen-phen diet drug combination, the Associated Press (AP) reported January 10.

By not rejecting the the change in the original settlement, Wyeth will add an additional $1.275 billion to the original $3.75 billion settlement fund, offering "swifter, but possibly lower payouts" in a class-action setup, rather than tying up the courts by enduring individual lawsuits, the AP reported.

"The proposed amendment ensures that the large majority of class members who have less serious claims will recieve compensation on a streamlined basis," Wyeth senior vice president and general counsel Lawrence V. Stein told the AP. "It also would help resolve much of the uncertainty that has surrounded the diet drug settlement--for both class members and for Wyeth."

The revision to the original settlement adds funds for about 400,000 people who suffered non-life-threatening heart valve damage after taking fen-phen. The manufacturer initially set aside $17 billion to cover fen-phen-related legal matters, of which $3 billion remains, the AP reported.

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