Pfizer has a history of multimillion-dollar lawsuit settlements.
Lipitor, an anti-cholesterol medication, can do more harm than good for some patients. Thousands have filed lawsuits against Lipitor’s manufacturer, Pfizer, for developing type 2 diabetes after taking the drug.
Though there have not been any Lipitor settlements yet, Pfizer has a history of settling lawsuits for millions of dollars, as seen below.
Pfizer Pays $468 Million for Hiding Cardiovascular Risks (2016)
Pfizer shareholders sued headquarters for covering up the safety risks of Celebrex and Bextra, which allegedly caused financial losses. The pain relievers were linked to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Shareholders alleged that the company knew that the drugs posed cardiovascular risks—as revealed in safety study results conducted between 1998 and 2004—but that they failed to tell the public. In 2016, Pfizer paid $468 million to settle the lawsuit.
Merck Pays $688 Million for Vytorin (2013)
Merck’s shareholders filed two class action lawsuits against headquarters when it was revealed that the company concealed the poor results of Vytorin, a rival anti-cholesterol drug, in its clinical trial. The trial found that Vytorin didn’t prevent buildup of plaque in the arteries any better than less expensive drugs.
When results were published in 2008, Merck shares fell 15%. Shareholders alleged that the company kept the results of the trial to themselves for more than a year. Merck paid $688 million to settle the lawsuits.
Diabetes Link Costs AstraZeneca $647 Million (2011)
AstraZeneca faced nearly 30,000 lawsuits for Seroquel, which was linked to diabetes and weight gain.
AstraZeneca’s antipsychotic medication Seroquel was linked to diabetes and weight gain. The drug manufacturer faced nearly 30,000 lawsuits for the medication, eventually settling for $647 million.
Litigation revealed that the company did a massive cover-up of the medication’s harmful side effects. A 1997 internal memo praised company executives for putting a “positive spin” on a “cursed study” and doing a “great ‘smoke-and-mirrors’ job,” the New York Times revealed.
AstraZeneca Settles Off-Label Marketing for $520 Million (2010)
In addition to covering up Seroquel’s link to diabetes, AstraZeneca also illegally marketed the antipsychotic drug to doctors by advocating for its use on children and the elderly, for which the FDA did not approve.
Children on Seroquel often suffered from weight gain, and many elderly suffered from health complications like heart failure and pneumonia which resulted in death. This spike in elderly mortality resulted in an FDA black box warning.
In 2010, AstraZeneca agreed to a $520 million settlement for their deceptive marketing.
Pfizer Pays FDA Historic $2.3 Billion (2009)
In 2009, Pfizer made history for all the wrong reasons. Their $2.3 billion payment to the FDA marked the largest healthcare fraud settlement and the largest criminal fine ever.
Pfizer drug Bextra was approved by the FDA for arthritis and menstrual pain, but the company marketed it for acute and surgical pain as well, often at doses that were higher than the approved amounts. The higher the dose, the FDA warned, the more patients were at risk of kidney, skin, and heart complications.
To further cement Bextra’s preference among doctors (along with Pfizer drugs Geodon, Zyvox, and Lyrica) the company paid for doctors' weekend getaways.
$1 Billion Settlement for Bayer Statin (2005)
Bayer was hit with 3,000 lawsuits for its own statin, Baycol. Plaintiffs alleged that the drug caused rhabdomyolysis, a condition that erodes muscle tissue. Severe rhabdomyolysis can eventually cause kidney failure, paralysis, and even death in some patients.
Bayer settled in 2005 for a massive $1 billion sum.
Pfizer is still battling lawsuits from patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Based on the company’s history, they are likely to settle some of the Lipitor lawsuits. Until then, ClassAction.com will continue to provide you with the latest in class action settlement news.