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Fen-Phen Settlement Update: Federal judge grants stay of all Fen-Phen claims

Pennsylvania firms representing claimants

(5/12/2022) - P.R. Newswire reports that Judge Harvey Bartle III has granted a motion requesting a 60-day stay of all claims processing in the National Diet Drug Settlement so that lawyers for claimants and lawyers for the drug manufacturer, Wyeth, can work out the terms of a jointly proposed amendment to the National Settlement.

According to P.R. Newswire, counsel representing a majority of the claimants seeking benefits from the National Diet Drug Settlement are supporting an amendment to the Settlement Agreement that requires Wyeth to pay another $1.275 billion into a new Claims Facility that will pay reduced amounts to those claimants who pass a more streamlined medical review process than presently exists.  The average payment for those who pass the medical review is approximately $68,000 and includes a guarantee of future payments to claimants should their condition progress to heart valve surgery by Dec. 31, 2011 or within 15 years from the date they last used the diet drugs Pondimin or Redux, whichever occurs first.

According to the news release, Paul Napoli, an attorney in New York who represents a large number of claimants in the National Settlement, said: "We have spent a considerable amount of time since the announcement of this proposal discussing it with those lawyers who negotiated the deal with Wyeth and we have concluded that this is an excellent alternative to the current system which is overburdened by an overwhelming number of claims.  We will be recommending that our clients participate in and support this new proposal.  Moreover, we have offered our assistance to the Claimants' Liaison Committee with the implementation of the new proposal."

P.R. Newswire reports that individuals who have made claims for benefits from the National Settlement do have a right to opt-out of the new proposal and remain bound by the terms of the existing Settlement.  However, Wyeth has agreed to provide this additional funding and the guaranteed surgery benefits with the expectation that all of the claimants will elect to participate, according to P.R. Newswire. Wyeth has a right to walk away from the new proposal if the company is not satisfied with the percentage of claims who elect to participate.

According to P.R. Newswire, the new Claims Facility will be established by a cooperative effort among counsel for claimants including Michael Fishbein of Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman, appointed by the Court as Class Counsel for Claimants and additional Claimants' Counsel including Jerry Alexander, of Alexander & Associates, P.C., James Doyle of Fleming and Associates, L.P., Ellen Presby of Baron & Budd, P.C., Tony Martinez of Martinez y Barrerra L.P., and Wayne Spivey of Shrager, Spivey and Sachs, P.C.

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