24 March 2003 00:00 [Source: ICB Americas]Shares of Bayer AG shot up after a Corpus Christi, Tex., jury ruled that US subsidiary Bayer Corp. is not liable in a $560 million suit brought against the company, charging that it ignored research linking its Baycol cholesterol lowering drug to dozens of deaths.
Bayer's ADRs (American depository receipts) jumped $4.16 (37 percent) to close at $15.40 following the ruling last Tuesday. The company's stock has been under severe pressure from the Baycol litigation, recently hitting a low of $10.80 versus its 52-week high of $35.85.
"The verdict validates Bayer's assertion that the company acted responsibly in the development, marketing and voluntary withdrawal of Baycol," Bayer said in a statement last week. The company will now turn its attention to other pending Baycol cases.
"It is Bayer's intention to pursue its policy of seeking to fairly compensate anyone who experienced serious side effects from Baycol, regardless of whether we have valid legal defenses to such claims," the company says. "At the same time, where an examination of the facts indicates that Baycol played no role in the patient's medical situation, or where a settlement is not achieved, Bayer will continue to defend itself vigorously as it did in the Corpus Christi case."
The Food and Drug Administration has linked Baycol to at least 52 deaths worldwide, including 31 in the US. Bayer has paid around $125 million to settle about 450 cases, but about8,000 remain.
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