Pfizer pays out

Pfizer plans to pay out over $400 million to resolve the personal injury claims against its wholly owned subsidiary the Quigley Company.

The company hopes that the payout will resolve all pending and future claims against the companies in which claimants have alleged that they have sustained personal injury from exposure to Quigley products containing asbestos, silica, or mixed dust.

Quigley was acquired by Pfizer in 1968 and sold small amounts of products containing asbestos until the early 1970s.

Specifically, both Pfizer and Quigley have taken three steps to resolve the legal issue.

First off, Quigley is to file a Chapter 11 reorganisation plan in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York that must be approved by the court and confirmed by a vote of 75 percent of the claimants. In connection with the filing, Pfizer has entered into settlement agreements with lawyers representing more than 80% of the individuals with claims against the two companies that provide for a total of $430 million in payments.

Secondly, the company is to establish a trust for the payment of all remaining pending claims as well as any future claims alleging injury from exposure to Quigley products. Pfizer will contribute $405 million to the Trust over 40 years through a note, as well as approximately $100 million in insurance. Pfizer will also forgive a $30 million loan to Quigley.

Thirdly, if approved by the court, a permanent injunction will then direct all future claims alleging personal injury from exposure to Quigley products to the Trust.

As of July 31, Pfizer and Quigley were named, along with numerous other defendants, in 171,611 lawsuits claiming personal injury allegedly caused by exposure to asbestos, silica or mixed dust.

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