February 03, 2009

san_francisco_chronicle


i-pfizerJuryA California jury has ordered drugmaker Pfizer to pay $38 million to a leading Bay Area medical research nonprofit for stealing trade secrets to develop a pain relief drug.

A Santa Clara County Superior Court jury reached the verdict Monday in a 2004 lawsuit filed against Pfizer by the San Bruno, Calif.-based nonprofit Ischemia Research and Education Foundation.

The lawsuit said Pfizer in 2002 wanted to use the foundation's database for clinical trials on Bextra, a drug to treat acute pain chiefly caused by arthritis. The drug was eventually taken off the market over concerns it posed a heart risk.

After the New York-based drugmaker and the foundation could not agree on terms for use of the database, the lawsuit alleged Pfizer arranged a side deal with Ping Hsu, a lead statistician at the foundation. Hsu provided the data without approval, according to the suit.

Pfizer said it plans to appeal.

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