Primary pulmonary hypertension (also known as pulmonary arterial hypertension) is a potentially fatal condition that can take years to arise. Some lawsuits filed against Pfizer allege patients developed primary pulmonary hypertension as much as 10 years after they stopped taking weight loss drug fen-phen. Some lawsuits alleging patients suffered serious heart problems as a result of taking the drug are still working their way through the courts.
In 2012, Pfizer requested a judge throw out claims against the company, arguing that there was no scientific evidence backing up claims that fen-phen caused PPH a decade after using the drug (Bloomberg; 8/23/12). The judge refused to dismiss the case, finding that scientific evidence linking fen-phen to PPH years later did support plaintiffs’ allegations.
Settlements have been announced in some lawsuits, but those settlements do not stop new claims from coming forward, especially in cases where patients have been newly diagnosed with primary pulmonary hypertension or valve problems.
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Allegations against the lawyer were that he helped other lawyers hide their excessive fees in the lawsuit and that he accepted $20 million in fees when plaintiffs in the lawsuit only received $46 million. The lawyer defended himself, saying he was only brought in to negotiate the settlement, not to represent the plaintiffs.
The lawsuits are In re Diet Drugs Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 1203 and Brown v. American Home Products Corp., 2:99-cv-20593, US District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania.