Week Adjourned: 2.11.11

Top Class Actions

Proctor & Gamble in a fix over Fixodent—they got hit with a class action lawsuit this week over allegations that their product caused the plaintiffs neurological illness

According to an investigative report by ABC News, the two lead plaintiffs, Mark Jacoby of New York and Anne Coffman of Maine, are both wheelchair bound as a result of being exposed to high levels of the mineral zinc—also known as zinc poisoning. Zinc poisoning interferes with the ability of the body to absorb copper. Both Jacoby and Coffman, and their respective physicians reportedly believe that their health problems are a result of the zinc found in Fixodent.

Just in case zinc poisoning is news to you—a paper published in Neurology in 2008 showed that “Denture cream contains zinc, and chronic excessive use may result in hypocupremia and serious neurologic disease.” In 2009, Proctor & Gamble updated the warning label on Fixodent stating that “prolonged zinc intake may be linked to adverse health effects.” 

Just as an fyi—products linked to the denture cream poisoning also include PoliGrip, and Super PoliGrip. 

Top Settlements

Bet Pfizer had some hot flashes this week. The maker of the hormone replacement therapy (HRT) Prempro, agreed to pay $330 million this week, to resolve claims that the menopause drug caused breast cancer. The settlement brings to an end eight years of litigation including some 2,200 related Prempro lawsuits that alleged Wyeth, the company that developed Prempro and was subsequently bought out by Pfizer, knew of the cancer risk but was not forthcoming about it.

According to Bloomberg, over 6 million women used Prempro and other related menopause medications to treat symptoms such as mood swings and hot flashes. Then, in 2002, results from a large cohort study, The Women’s Health Initiative, showed a link to cancer.

Pfizer reportedly faced over 10,000 lawsuits alleging that Prempro caused breast cancer in its users. The company has settled many of them in the past five months, Bloomberg reports. Those settlements include “8,000 cases consolidated in federal court in Arkansas and other cases in state courts in Pennsylvania, Nevada and Minnesota.”

BofA over its limit on overdraft fees. A federal lawsuit alleging that America’s largest bank charged excessive overdraft fees looks likely to be settled. BofA reportedly states in a recent court filing that it has reached a memorandum of understanding to settle the claims in the suit by paying $410 million. Isn’t that really just giving the money back to the people it was gouged from in the first place? That is, if the settlement is approved in court.

The suit is one of several filed against several banks from plaintiffs in 14 states, which were consolidated in a federal court in Florida. Other banks named in related suits include Wells Fargo and Citibank.

Be interesting to see how this plays out.

In the meantime—I’ll see you at the bar—coz that’s it for this week.