One year ago I predicted Pfizer would pay a $400 million settlement for Celebrex/Bextra. Today Pfizer announced they would pay $894 million.
In my post $400 Million Pfizer Settlement for Bextra/Celebrex published on April 11, 2007, I predicted that Pfizer would pay . . $400 million to settle Bextra/Celebrex. Today Pfizer announced they would pay $894 million.
According to Pfizer, "today’s announcement follows favorable rulings in which federal and New York state court judges overseeing a majority of the personal injury cases ruled that the plaintiffs’ lawyers failed to present reliable scientific evidence to prove Celebrex can cause heart attacks or strokes at its most commonly prescribed dose. These rulings would have likely limited the scope of these cases had the litigation continued. By settling these matters now, the parties are minimizing the future cost and disruption inevitably associated with litigation."
“We are pleased by the favorable rulings we have achieved in this litigation and believe that now is the right time to resolve these matters,” said Amy W. Schulman, senior vice president and general counsel of Pfizer. “Inevitably, litigation can be distracting and putting these matters behind us helps our shareholders and, most importantly, patients and doctors.”
My own thoughts: Pfizer settled this litigation at a fraction of the cost Merck ended up paying for Vioxx. This is not so much a reflection of Vioxx having had an even worse side effect profile than Celebrex but a more skillful handling of this case by Pfizer. After all, Bextra was also taken off the market, just like Vioxx.
Pfizer clearly has a new sheriff in town and her name is Amy Schulman. She doesn't carry the emotional baggage of oldtime Pfizerites and appears to approach litigation with a certain pragmatism. For Pfizer, that is good news.