Los Angeles Jury Rules in Favor of Pfizer in Liver Damage Case Related to Diabetes Medication Rezulin
A Los Angeles jury on Thursday unanimously rejected allegations that the diabetes medication Rezulin, manufactured by Pfizer, contributed to the deaths or illnesses of three individuals, the Los Angeles Times reports (Guccione, Los Angeles Times, 5/28). In March 2000, FDA ordered Pfizer to withdraw Rezulin from the market over concerns that the medication could cause fatal liver toxicity. About 500,000 individuals with diabetes took Rezulin at the time of the recall. Reports linked Rezulin to 90 cases of liver failure between the approval of the medication in 1997 and the recall in 2000 (California Healthline, 3/22/00). Rezulin was developed by Warner-Lambert, which Pfizer acquired three months after the withdrawal of the medication. Warner-Lambert faces more than 35,000 lawsuits nationwide related to Rezulin (Los Angeles Times, 5/28). Pfizer recorded a $933 million charge in the last fiscal year to cover the cost of Rezulin litigation (Bloomberg/Hartford Courant, 5/28). In the Los Angeles case, the jury found that although Rezulin can cause liver damage, the medication was not a "substantial factor" in the deaths of Lupe Contreras and Manuel Cervantes or in the illness of Leonard Clinkenbeard (AP/Bakersfield Californian, 5/28). Pfizer spokesperson Bryant Haskins said, "We always thought we had a very strong case, and the jury obviously agreed. We are very pleased with the verdict" (Los Angeles Times, 5/28).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.