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Pfizer pays millions after years of product liability litigation

As Texas residents can probably guess, when legal disputes arise, they can be lengthy. For this reason, after long periods of business litigation, it's sometimes a good idea to move forward.

In recent news, Pfizer, the world's largest pharmaceutical company, has said in a securities filing that it has paid $896 million to settle approximately 60 percent of cases that alleged that its menopause drugs caused cancer in women.

Specifically, Pfizer has now settled about 6,000 of these product liability lawsuits, and it has set aside an additional $330 million to resolve the remaining 4,000 cases.

In the end, the company has devoted $1.2 billion to resolving these cases, which has equated to paying an average of about $150,000 per suit.

An established fund manager who holds some of the company's shares made the following statement: "It's good for the company not to let this litigation linger." He added, "Resolving these cases gives investors one less thing to worry about."

Since trials began in 2006, Pfizer has lost 11 of 21 cases decided by juries over the menopause drugs. At the height of the litigation, Pfizer faced more than 10,000 claims.

The drug company was able to get some of the verdicts against it thrown out after trial. It also accomplished a reduction of award amounts in some cases. Ultimately, while the company resolved some of the verdicts through settlements, other decisions are on appeal.

Nevertheless, sources indicate that it's good to see the company moving toward a litigation-free future. After years of legal battles, Pfizer is finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, "Pfizer Paid $896 Million in Prempro Settlements," Jef Feeley, June 19, 2012

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