$3.75B Fen-Phen Settlement Now Final

The Associated Press

January 11, 2002

A $3.75 billion settlement for thousands of people who took the recalled fen-phen diet drug combination is now final because no one challenged it by last week's deadline, drug maker American Home Products said. Until January 2, 2002, plaintiffs or their health insurers could have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the settlement, which currently includes about 295,000 people. No one did so.

In May, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit approved the settlement, which includes $1 billion for future medical checkups and $2.34 billion to settle individual suits over the company's fen-phen diet drug combination.

The company made Pondimin, the fenfluramine half of fen-phen, and Redux, a chemical cousin. About 6 million people took the drugs before they were pulled off the market in 1997 amid concerns they caused heart-valve damage in some patients.

Final court approval means people who used the drugs and want to file a claim must do so by August, according to attorneys for plaintiffs and the trust administering the settlement.

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