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Pfizer details new costs to settle some litigation

Posted: 13 May 2011 | | No comments yet

Pfizer will settle more than 2,200 lawsuits alleging the company’s Wyeth unit hid Prempro’s cancer risks…

Drug giant Pfizer Inc. has recorded charges totalling $472 million as it reached agreements to settle about one-third of the lawsuits it faces over whether Prempro hormone replacement drugs made by its Wyeth subsidiary caused breast cancer or other harm to women.

In a regulatory filing late Thursday, Pfizer said it took a $172 million charge in the first quarter to cover those agreements, plus verdicts in lawsuits it has lost. Pfizer also recorded a $300 million charge in the quarter for “the minimum expected costs to resolve all of the other outstanding hormone-replacement therapy actions against Pfizer and its affiliated companies.”

Pfizer said that if those estimates are inaccurate, additional charges might be required. The company noted it had previously recorded a total of $300 million in charges for settlements and verdicts in earlier quarters.

The figures were disclosed in Pfizer’s regular quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Wyeth, a drugmaker that Pfizer bought in October 2009, had been hit by thousands of lawsuits over its hormone replacement pills, Premarin and Prempro, after widely publicized research indicated that such medicines increased risk of breast cancer and other diseases.

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