The high court rejected an effort by Pfizer to deep six a securities lawsuit that alleged the drugmaker misrepresented safety issues about its Celebrex painkiller (see here). The lawsuit claimed Pharmacia, which Pfizer now owns, deliberately withheld results of a study showing Celebrex offered no safety advantages over less expensive meds, The Wall Street Journal writes.
Pfizer argued that investors missed a two-year statute of limitations to bring the lawsuit. But the Alaska Electrical Pension Fund maintained there was no evidence of a possible fraud until The Washington Post published an article about missing Celebrex data in August 2001, which meant its April 2003 lawsuit was within two years of the statute. The 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled last year that the lawsuit was not filed too late.
The denial comes just one week after the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that a long-running securities fraud lawsuit can proceed against Merck concerning its Vioxx painkiller, which was withdrawn in 2004 over links to heart attacks and strokes following a few years of debate and controversy that the drugmkaer misrepresented safety issues (background). Pfizer's appeal had been on hold pending the outcome of the Merck case.