Pfizer faces trials in hundreds of Prempro suits

Will Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) now have some impetus to settle the thousands of Prempro lawsuits it acquired along with Wyeth last year? Maybe, with hundreds of the suits moving from the pretrial stage consolidated in Arkansas and back to their home courts for trial. "Pfizer is now going to have to gear up and hire lawyers all over the country to try these cases," Carl Tobias, a University of Richmond professor who teaches classes on mass-tort law, tells Bloomberg. "That makes things more expensive and may provide some incentive to settle."

U.S. Judge William Wilson, who's supervising the pretrial phase, sent 200 suits back to their courts in March and plans to release another 400 later this year. And now, a Galveston, Texas, judge has set a trial date for one of the remanded suits: Claims that Prempro use helped cause plaintiff Karen Zahn's breast cancer.

But Pfizer says that it's not talking settlement. "No decision has been made about how many additional cases will be remanded or when," Pfizer spokesman Chris Loder tells the news service. Plus, Pfizer lawyers may ask judges to dismiss some cases, Loder says; in fact, one of the cases remanded by Wilson has already been dismissed.

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ALSO: The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected Pfizer's appeal of an earlier Prempro verdict. Report