Baycol deaths number 100 or more

Shelley Wood

January 18, 2002

Fri, 18 Jan 2002 20:30:00

Frankfurt, Germany The number of deaths believed to be linked to the use of cerivastatin (Baycol®/Lipobay®; Bayer) may be double the figure first cited when the drug was pulled from the market last summer, the company announced this week.

The FDA first reported that 31 deaths in the US had been linked to the blockbuster statin when the news broke last August, but the figure jumped to 52 after further investigation unearthed deaths in Germany, France, and Spain. Now, Bayer reports that the true number of fatalities may be somewhere in the vicinity of 100 deaths. This new estimate appears in the company's 20F document, required of foreign companies registering with the US Securities and Exchange Commission: Bayer, based in Leverkusen, Germany, is making its debut on the New York Stock Exchange next week.

The long arm of the lawyers

Bayer was forced to removed the drug from pharmacy shelves last summer, first in the US and Europe, then Japan shortly thereafter. The company pulled the plug on Baycol after becoming aware of increased fatal rhabdomyolysis in patients taking the drug, particularly in combination with gemfibrozil, or when 0.8mg was taken as a starting dose.

In short order, lawyers in the US launched lawsuits against Bayer, while the German government announced it would be fining Bayer DM50000 ($23400US). Now, attorneys in the US and Germany have announced that they are planning to file an amended class-action lawsuit in the US that would allow victims in Europe to seek damages alongside their US counterparts, a move which will likely prove far costlier for Bayer.

By noon GMT on January 18, 2002, Bayer's share price had dipped by 2%.

Related links

1. [Heartwire > News; Aug 08, 2001]

2. [Heartwire > Mediapulse; Aug 09, 2001]

3. [Heartwire > News; Aug 28, 2001]

4. [Heartwire > News; Aug 10, 2001]


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