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Bayer Faces 3,500 Drug Lawsuits

Oct 21, 2002 | AP German drug maker Bayer said Monday it faces 3,500 lawsuits, many more than previously announced, over an anti-cholesterol drug withdrawn last year after it was linked to dozens of patient deaths worldwide.

In August, the company had said it faced 2,000 claims regarding its once-lucrative Baycol, marketed outside the United States as LipobayLibobay drug, which was sold in the United States as Baycol.

Spokesman Guenter Forneck said Bayer has settled 100 lawsuits linked to patients who suffered severe side effects from taking the medication. He declined to say how much Bayer had paid.

News of the rising number of claims sent the company's shares tumbling. The stock was down 7.5 percent in Frankfurt on Monday afternoon, trading at 19.95 euros ($19.40).

The drug was associated with a rare muscle-wasting syndrome, rhabdomyolysis.

Bayer has repeatedly said the lawsuits against it are groundless and it has settled the cases without admitting responsibility.

The company said last month that its product-liability insurance would likely cover any damages. The company has set aside no additional funds.

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