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Judge OKs Proposed Fen-Phen Settlement

BRIEFLY / PHARMACEUTICALS

August 29, 2000|Associated Press

A federal judge has approved a proposed $3.75-billion national settlement of health claims stemming from the diet drug combination fen-phen, which has been linked to potentially fatal heart valve damage. Under the settlement, individual fen-phen users would get up to $1.5 million, though most would get far less, depending on their level of injury and how long they took the drugs. U.S. District Judge Louis Bechtle gave preliminary approval to the settlement in November. More than 9,000 lawsuits have been filed against American Home Products, maker of fenfluramine, the "fen" in the combination. The Madison, N.J.-based company sold the combination under the brand name Pondimin and also made Redux, a chemical cousin. Of 6 million people who took fen-phen before it was pulled from the market, about 45,000 have refused the settlement, retaining the right to seek punitive damages.

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