April 20, 2004 - Majority Counsel Says Fen-Phen Trust Fund is Bust

Majority Council, an organization of plaintiff lawyers who represent consumers injured by the diet drugs Pondimin or Redux, said the $3.75 billion trust fund setup to compensate Fen-Phen victims is bust.

The group said that only 3,000 victims of the nearly 100,000 cases filed with the Trust have received the compensation they were promised by Wyeth, the pharmaceutical giant formally known as American Home Products. Victims were promised efficient processing of their claims in exchange for giving up their right to sue Wyeth for Fen-Phen damages.

"Over a period of ten years, six million Americans took Fen-Phen, a drug Wyeth knowingly marketed and sold despite resounding evidence that it could cause serious -- even fatal -- heart and lung damage," Majority Council said in a prepared statement. "When Wyeth knew they were caught, they asked for a class action settlement so they could control the number of lawsuits and limit the amount they would be required to pay victims."

"Now that the number of victims is higher than Wyeth hoped for, they are actively trying to delay compensating their victims," the group said. "Wyeth is accountable to all of its victims, not just the ones it chooses to repay."

"If Wyeth will not pay victims of Fen-Phen in a timely manner, then the victims' rights to hold Wyeth accountable in court should be restored," the group said.


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