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Lawsuits for Heart Valve Damage from Fen Phen

In February 2005, fen-phen drug maker Wyeth set aside a $21.1 billion litigation reserve to pay patients who sued the company for heart problems they suffered after they took the drug. At the time 63,000 plaintiffs had received a phen fen heart valve damage settlement offer from the company.

Wyeth had increased the amount set aside by $4.5 billion. This was the fourth time the company had been forced to raise the amount it set aside to compensate former fen-phen users harmed by the diet drug.

Wyeth had offered settlements between $5,000 and $200,000 to plaintiffs, and those most seriously harmed by the drug could negotiate for even higher payments. Many lawyers for the thousands hurt by the drug rejected the comprehensive settlement.

The plaintiffs had declined to accept the terms of a class action lawsuit.

Heart valve damage lawyers from almost 100 firms had agreed to settle, but numerous firms representing thousands of claimants refused to sign on.

Lawyers Demand More for Clients with Heart Valve Damage

A Florida lawyer representing 30,000 fen phen clients said he didn't think the settlement offer "was sufficient." Two Houston lawyers rejected the settlement offer because they didn't think it was adequate to compensate clients who had undergone heart valve surgery as a result of taking the drug or because it discouraged some seriously ill clients from individually negotiating.

The combination drug, composed of fenfluramine and Phentermine, had been prescribed to tens of millions of patients. It worked by curbing their appetites.

Fenfluramine was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1973. Phentermine had been approved in 1959. A study in 1992 showed that combining the two drugs led to more successful weight loss with fewer side effects.

Although doctors were prescribing a combination of the drugs, such a combination had never received FDA approval. And, in 1997 Wyeth, at the request of the FDA, pulled the drug combination from the market because of reports of serious heart valve problems for fen phen users. A Mayo Clinic study showed that 30 percent of fen-phen users developed heart valve disease. Many of these patients required surgery to repair or replace their heart valves.

The prolapsed valves or other valve problems can exit without being noticed for years, and only then do patients undergo risky open heart surgery.

Do You Qualify for a Fen-Phen Lawsuit?

Lawsuits for heart valave damage from fen-phen continue to be filed against the drug maker. Even though the drug combination was taken off the market in 1997, heart valve problems did not show up for years. Many people today are just discovering they have valvular problems, such as prolapsed or leaky valves that permit the blood to flow the wrong way in the heart.

If you are among those who took fen-phen and later discovered you have heart valve damage, you should contact our fen-phen attorneys. You should be compensated for your pain, suffering, lost wages, and diminished quality of life.

To learn more, contact us to schedule your free case review today.

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