Pfizer to pay $67.5 mln in investor lawsuit over Pristiq

Mon Nov 12, 2012 9:13am EST

* Wyeth said to have misled about antidepressant's risks
    * Wyeth's market value lost more than $7.6 bln
    * Pfizer bought Wyeth in 2009; does not admit wrongdoing

    By Jonathan Stempel and Nate Raymond
    NEW YORK, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Pfizer Inc agreed to
pay $67.5 million to settle a class-action lawsuit by former
Wyeth Inc shareholders who said they were misled about risks
associated with the antidepressant Pristiq.
    The all-cash settlement was disclosed on Friday, one month
after Pfizer agreed to pay $164 million to settle a separate
lawsuit accusing it of misleading investors about clinical trial
results for the arthritis drug Celebrex. 
    Wyeth shares lost more than $7.6 billion of market value on
July 24, 2007, after the company said the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration would not approve Pristiq to treat "hot flashes"
in post-menopausal women until it learned more about potential
heart and liver problems associated with the drug.
    Shareholders led by the Pipefitters Union Local 537 Pension
Fund in Boston said Wyeth's failure to reveal adverse effects
sooner caused its stock price to be inflated during the June 26,
2006, to July 24, 2007, class period.
    Pfizer bought Wyeth in 2009. Several former Wyeth officials,
including onetime Chief Executive Robert Essner, are also
defendants in the case.
    Christopher Loder, a Pfizer spokesman, said the defendants
denied wrongdoing in agreeing to settle.
    Laurie Largent and David Rosenfeld, lawyers for the
plaintiffs, did not immediately respond to requests for a
comment.
    Pristiq generated $461 million of sales from January to
September for Pfizer.
    Analysts once hoped annual sales would top $2 billion for
the drug, whose chemical name is desvenlafaxine.
    The settlement followed nearly six months of mediation. It
requires approval by U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan in
Manhattan, who certified the class action in September.
    Lawyers for the plaintiffs plan to seek attorneys' fees of
roughly $16.5 million, plus as much as $650,000 for expenses,
court papers show.
    Pfizer's shares closed Friday at $24.17 on the New York
Stock Exchange.
    The case, which has a Michigan retirement system as the
named plaintiff, is City of Livonia Employees' Retirement System
v. Wyeth et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New
York, No. 07-10329.
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