Pfizer reaches $894M painkiller settlement

Pfizer can now say "done deal" on most of the lawsuits over its painkillers Celebrex and Bextra. The cost? $894 million. As of today, the drugmaker has reached agreements in principle to settle with up to 92 percent of the outstanding personal injury plaintiffs, who had alleged that the drugs had caused heart attacks, strokes, or other serious health problems. And Pfizer hopes to extend the deal to include many of the remaining plaintiffs, too. The company will fight any leftover claims in court.

Pfizer General Counsel Amy Schulman (photo) told the New York Times that two court rulings had paved the way for the settlement deal. Judges in New York and California decided that there was not enough evidence that the most common dose of Celebrex and Bextra-- which is no longer on the market--boosted risks of heart attack and stroke.

Also included in the proposed deal are suits from insurers and patients who want to recoup their spending on the two painkillers, plus claims of improper Bextra marketing in 33 states and the District of Columbia. Some $89 million would go to settle the reimbursement claims and $60 million to settle state claims. The remaining $745 million would go to the personal injury plaintiffs.

- check out the Pfizer release
- read the story in the New York Times