US Supreme Court allows cholesterol drug suit

June 16, 2011

The US Supreme Court on Thursday allowed a class-action suit by alleged victims of the anti-cholesterol drug Baycol, which was taken off the market in 2001 by German pharmaceuticals giant Bayer.

The top US court said in a unanimous decision that lower courts were not allowed to ban class-action suits for the drug, which went on the US market in 1997 and was blamed for the deaths of 31 Americans four years later due to side effects, including fatal muscle toxicity leading to kidney failure.

Several legal cases were lodged over the drug, also known by its chemical name cerivastatin.

The suits were put together in a federal court in Minnesota, but in the case delivered to the high court, the plaintiffs were from West Virginia.

Bayer, which had argued that the class-action suit could not proceed because the judge in charge of cases in Minnesota banned such suits back in August 2005, expressed disappointment with the decision.

"Bayer is disappointed by today's ruling, which overturns a decision by the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit that upheld a decision to prevent the proposed state economic loss class action lawsuit from moving forward," the company said in a statement.

Bayer will continue to defend this case, including on the issue of class certification, should it move forward at the state level," the company statement said.

But the Supreme Court reversed the Eighth Circuit's decision to issue an injuction that had banned a class-action suit, saying "the federal court exceeded its authority under the 're-litigation exception.'"

Bayer voluntarily recalled the drug in August 2001 after 31 deaths due to rhabdomyolysis, a breakdown of muscle tissue.

Baycol, part of the class of cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins, was first approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1997.

Explore further: Known smoking dangers said no defense

Related Stories

Court Denies Vonage Bid for Patent Case Retrial

May 4, 2007

A U.S. appeals court denies a request by Internet phone company Vonage Holdings that it order a retrial in the patent infringement case brought against it by Verizon Communications.

Justices weigh lawsuits over vaccine side effects (Update)

October 12, 2010

(AP) -- The Supreme Court is trying to sort out whether drug companies can be sued for claims of serious side effects from childhood vaccines without driving vaccine makers from the market and risking a public health crisis.

Court won't stop hormone replacement lawsuits

October 12, 2010

(AP) -- The Supreme Court won't reconsider a decision to reinstate more than 100 lawsuits filed by women who claimed that hormone replacement therapy caused breast cancer.

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

( -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.