Pfizer agrees to pay $67.5 million to settle a shareholder class action

Posted on: November 13th, 2012 by Steve Larson

The all-cash settlement was disclosed on November 9, 2012, 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 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.

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.  Pfizer’s shares closed Friday at $24.17 on the New York Stock Exchange.