Pfizer Gets Busted for Celebrex

According to court papers filed on Friday in the U.S District Court in New Jersey, Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) agreed to pay $164 million to settle a shareholder class action lawsuit that claimed the pharmaceutical company misrepresented the clinical trial results for Celebrex.

The lawsuit, which was brought by the company’s shareholders in 2003, claimed that Pfizer violated federal securities laws by misrepresenting clinical trial results of Celebrex to make its safety profile appear better than rival drugs.

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Pfizer spokesman Christopher Loder told Reuters that the company denied any wrongdoing.

In 2007, U.S. District Judge Anne Thompson certified the investor class in the lawsuit, but also granted Pfizer’s motion to dismiss the case. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the case in 2008 and the Supreme Court denied the drug manufacturer’s petition to review that ruling in May 2010.

Pfizer purchased Pharmacia Corporation, which manufactured Celebrex, in 2002. Celebrex is now the company’s fifth-best-selling medicine, with annual sales of approximately $2.5 billion. Certain former officers of Pharmacia are also named in the lawsuit

The company was set to go to trial over the allegations on October 22.

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