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Bayer May Settle Some Baycol Claims

Aug 7, 2002 | AP

Bayer AG may be prepared to settle some claims over an anti-cholesterol drug withdrawn after it was linked to patient deaths, but the company sees no grounds for a full-scale settlement, the chief executive was quoted as saying Wednesday.

In a preview of an interview with the WirtschaftsWoche weekly, Werner Wenning also said Bayer could cut another 4,000 jobs as it combines its farm chemicals business with its $7 billion acquisition, Aventis CropScience, that was completed in June.

Beyond that, "there may be further job cuts due to restructuring," Wenning told the weekly.

The decision adds to 6,300 job cuts already announced to the 128,000 Bayer employees. The company had planned to drop 5,000 jobs by 2005 under cuts decided before its key Baycol drug was withdrawn, and it has announced 1,300 more since.

Bayer, based in Leverkusen, is in the midst of an overhaul launched last year after links to more than 50 patient deaths forced it to pull Baycol, marketed as Lipobay in some countries.

Bayer was hit by lawsuits seeking damages for patients and their relatives over the recalled drug. It insisted the claims are groundless and says it has set no money aside for possible compensation payments.

In the interview, Wenning said the company might consider settling some individual lawsuits brought over the drug, but insisted that Bayer "acted properly on the basis of the contemporary state of knowledge."

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