Bayer settles with AGs 'to avoid unnecessary expense'

John O'Brien Jan. 23, 2007, 9:00pm

MONTPELIER, Vt. - Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrell was one of 30 attorneys general who announced a settlement with Bayer Corp. Tuesday, resolving an investigation into a drug designed by the company to lower cholesterol that was taken off the market more than five years ago.

The settlement provides $8 million to be divided among the attorneys general. Investigation leaders like Sorrell will receive $600,000, while other attorneys general who signed their names to the investigation will get $200,000.

The drug Baycol was at issue. Its usage allegedly resulted in a weakening of the muscles or a muscular disease.

The AGs admit that Bayer informed the Food and Drug Administration about these effects but did not adequately warn prescribers and consumers. Bayer voluntarily took it off the market in August 2001.

In the settlement agreement, Bayer says it decided to settle "to avoid unnecessary expense, inconvenience and uncertainty," and admitted to no wrongdoing.

Allegedly affected consumers will not receive any reimbursement as a result of the settlement, though Bayer's will be required to register most of its clinical studies and then post the results at the end of the study.

The payments made to the AG offices are classified as compensation for court costs, though only five states will receive the $600,000 investigation leader amount.

The payment settles "attorney generals' concerns," according to a release.

Baycol is also the subject of an MDL lawsuit in Minnesota that consists of more than 1,000 cases.

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