Pfizer Inc. (PFE), the world’s largest drugmaker, said in a securities filing that it has paid $896 million to resolve about 60 percent of the cases alleging its menopause drugs caused cancer in women.
Pfizer has now settled about 6,000 lawsuits that claim Prempro and other hormone-replacement drugs caused breast cancer, and it has set aside an additional $330 million to resolve the remaining 4,000 suits, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The reserve means New York-based Pfizer has committed more than $1.2 billion to resolving claims that its Wyeth and Pharmacia & Upjohn units failed to properly warn women about the menopause drugs’ health risk. Based on the May 10 filing, the company is paying an average of about $150,000 a case.
“It’s good for the company not to let this litigation linger,” Les Funtleyder, a New York-based fund manager at Miller Tabak & Co. in New York who holds Pfizer shares, said yesterday in a phone interview. “Resolving these cases gives investors one less thing to worry about.”
More than 6 million women took Prempro and related menopause drugs to treat symptoms including hot flashes and mood swings before a 2002 study highlighted their links to cancer. Wyeth’s sales of the medicines, which are still on the market, exceeded $2 billion before the release of the Women’s Health Initiative, a study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.