High Court Rejects Pfizer Appeal in Investor Suit

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal by Pfizer Inc. that sought to thwart a securities lawsuit alleging the drugmaker misrepresented the safety profile of the blockbuster pain drug Celebrex.

The plaintiffs alleged that Pfizer's Pharmacia unit deliberately withheld the full results of a medical study that showed no safety advantage to using Celebrex over less expensive anti-inflammatory drugs.

Pfizer argued that investors missed a two-year statute of limitations to bring the lawsuit. The investors said there was no evidence of a possible fraud until the Washington Post published an article about missing Celebrex data in August 2001, meaning their April 2003 lawsuit was within two years of that development.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled last year that the lawsuit was not filed too late. The Supreme Court let that ruling stand without comment.

The high court's denial of Pfizer's appeal comes a week after the justices ruled unanimously that investors didn't wait too long to file securities lawsuits alleging that Merck & Co. misrepresented the safety of painkiller drug Vioxx. Pfizer's appeal had been on hold pending the outcome of the Merck case.

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