Fen Phen Settlement
American Home Products (AHP) withdrew popular
diet drug fen phen from the market on September 15, 1997.
The once deemed miracle drug took off with an
immediate 18,000,000 prescriptions written in 1996 and in
the U.S. there are estimates that between 6 million and 7
million people took fen phen.
Fen phen did not live up to its name, though,
as reports of a serious and fatal condition called primary
pulmonary hypertension (PPH) began to surface. But evidence
of the serious and fatal health complications fen phen could
cause were available well prior to the FDA
withdrawal. In a 1996 study published in The New England
Journal of Medicine, it concluded that there is a twenty-three-fold
increase in the risk of developing PPH when using fen phen
for more than three months.
Up until the 1997 fen phen withdrawal, individual
lawsuits and class actions in federal and state courts were
filed against AHP due to the adverse
health effects the drugs caused, including PPH. The fen
phen lawsuits sought compensation to cover monetary damages,
medical monitoring, and screening. December 10, 1997, the
Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation transferred all
federal fen phen cases to the U.S. District Court, and negations
of a nationwide settlement to settle the claims resulting
from fen phen use began. The settlement class received preliminary
approval on November 23, 1999, and on May 2, 2000 the court
held a hearing to determine if the proposed Settlement Agreement
was fair, adequate, and reasonable.
The Settlement Agreement was approved on
August 28, 2000, and the AHP Settlement Trust was established
as of September 1, 2000. The Trial Court Approval of the Settlement
Agreement was appealed to a higher court and the ruling was
affirmed on August 15, 2001. Although the appeal requested
all the judges to rehear the appeal, the request was denied
on October 3, 2001. Final Judicial Approval was received on
January 3, 2002 for the Nationwide Class Action Settlement
Agreement with American Home Products.
The claim deadline for the Fen Phen
Settlement must be filed by August 2002.
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