Wyeth will appeal court judgement, also proposes settlement fund amendment

Wyeth said that it will appeal a $1 billion judgement brought against it over its drug Pondimin, part of its diet drug combination pill, after a Texas court denied its motion for a new trial, as reported in CNN Money.

The appeal was expected after a Texas jury on April 27 awarded the estate of a woman who had used the diet drug $113.4 million in compensatory damages and $900 million in punitive damages in an alleged wrongful death case. The verdict was upheld on May 17.

Wyeth asked for a new trial, which was rejected on July 26. The drugmaker "said it has 'strong arguments' for reversal or reduction of the award citing a 'significant number' of errors at trial and a lack of evidence to support the verdict," as reported in CNN Money. The appeal, which the drugmaker announced in its second-quarter Securities and Exchange Commission filing, is expected to take at least one to two years, and Wyeth will be required to post a bond of up to $25 million.

"Prior to the award, Wyeth had taken $16.6 billion of charges for past and future payments to the 6 million Americans who took fen-phen, which paired Pondimin or another Wyeth drug, Redux, with phentermine" the news source reports.

Wyeth is also seeking preliminary approval for a $1.28 billion supplemental fund to handle less severe claims associated with the diet drugs, as reported in Forbes and The Miami Herald. The requested fund would add to the existing $3.75 billion trust fund Wyeth already has established for patients claiming heart problems associated with taking the diet drugs.

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