NEW YORK, March 25 Grant & Eisenhofer, a leading shareholder and corporate governance law firm, was successful in upholding the admission of testimony against pharmaceutical giant Pfizer by six expert witnesses in a rare securities-related Daubert hearing. U.S. District Court Judge Laura Taylor Swain of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York issued her written ruling on Monday, March 22. Grant & Eisenhofer is representing the class as lead counsel, including the Teachers' Retirement System of Louisiana, the lead plaintiff in the case.
The case against Pfizer stems from shareholder losses related to false and misleading statements regarding the safety of two of its pain-relieving drugs, Celebrex and Bextra. The Daubert hearing was requested by Pfizer in an attempt to prevent inclusion of expert testimony that Pfizer had full knowledge of cardiovascular problems associated with these two drugs and withheld that knowledge.
Contrary to rulings from two separate products liability cases in which Pfizer successfully blocked certain expert testimony with regard to Celebrex and Bextra, the Court's opinion and order in this case provides that a jury, or other trier of fact, may hear expert testimony that Pfizer had concealed statistically significant data showing the adverse cardiovascular risks associated with both drugs.
"The admittance of expert testimony, which has been granted by the Court, clearly supports the fact that Pfizer and its senior management knew prior to initial approval that Celebrex should have been subject to the black-box warning and that Bextra should have never received approval for consumer use," said Jay Eisenhofer, managing director of G&E and lead counsel in the case.
For more than five years, Pfizer misrepresented Celebrex as a risk-free painkiller safer than aspirin, ibuprofen and other drugs, which could be taken by almost anyone for a number of types of chronic pain. The Company also misrepresented Bextra as a safe painkiller for a wide variety of applications.
Unbeknownst to investors, the FDA or the general public, Pfizer had in its possession, from at least as early as 1999, data regarding the serious cardiovascular risks of Celebrex and Bextra.
In late 2004, the National Cancer Institute announced it was prematurely stopping a trial study of Celebrex due to a dramatic increase in cardiovascular death and stroke among trial participants. Based on this announcement, Pfizer acknowledged that it had conducted a study in 1999, prior to FDA approval, which indicated similar risks of adverse cardiovascular events. In 2005, Celebrex was required by the FDA to carry a black-box warning and Bextra was completely pulled from the market.
Once the truth was revealed, sales of Celebrex fell dramatically and Bextra was removed from the market. As a result, Pfizer's stock price declined significantly - leading to a total market capitalization loss of more than $60 billion.
Full texts of opinion and complaint are available on request.
Grant & Eisenhofer P.A. represents institutional investors and shareholders internationally in securities class actions, corporate governance actions and derivative litigation. The firm has recovered more than $12 billion for investors in the last five years. G&E has also been selected among The National Law Journal's "Plaintiffs' Hot List" for the past five years, and is a member of its Hall of Fame. Risk Metrics named Grant & Eisenhofer the #1 law firm in average shareholder recoveries in securities class actions in 2007 and 2008. For more information, visit www.gelaw.com.
SOURCE Grant & Eisenhofer