Baycol was a cholesterol lowering drug, which was approved by FDA in the year 1997.However due to its serious and fatal side effects; it was removed from the market worldwide in the year 2001. Though it was available for commercial use only for four years, still in this time it caused various injuries and deaths. Baycol is one drug that has caused more than 100 deaths and has the maximum number of litigations filed and pending against it. There are various figures floating in the market pertaining to the number of litigations against it, while some have reported approximately 7,655 liability cases against the manufacturer of Baycol, Bayer– the manufacturer has declared more than 10,000 cases for its attorneys to settle. Bayer also stated that till April 2005, it has paid approximately $1.2 billion against the various settlements around the world, related to Baycol only.

Baycol has been in limelight because of its frequently printed litigation news in the duration – October 2002 to November 2004. The important ones are listed below:

  1. 31st October 2002Chicago County Hospital’s researchers surveyed a group of patients using Baycol. The findings of the survey were
    1. Firstly, the patients were inadequately educated about the side- effects of the drug.
    2. Secondly, there were 67 Cook county patients who were prescribed both gemfibriozil and Baycol, which can be life threatening.
    3. Thirdly, only a minor population of the people using drug was aware of the fact that it has been recalled.
    4. Lastly, forty percent of the drug using population was suffering from rhabdomylosis- a muscle degenerating disease and most of the cases were in serious conditions.
  2. 16th January 2003- As told to newspaper agencies, Bayer had reported an increase in the number of Baycol causalities from 5,700 in November 2002 to 7,400 as on date.
  3. 21st February 2003– First litigation was filed against Baycol in the U.S. The patient had taken Baycol for less than a month and suffered from rhabdomylosis.
  4. 22nd February 2003- Through internal mails and dispositions it was found that Bayer was very well aware of the dreaded side effects that the drug could cause and turned a blind eye towards it, in order to win over its competitors and make the company financially strong enough to fuel its operations.
  5. 24th February 2003– New York Times newspaper reported that a senior official of the drug manufacturer was aware of the fatal side effects that the drug had. Baycol had 7,800 litigations filed against it, out of which 450 had been settled. As a result the company’s share fell up to 10%.
  6. 25th February 2003- 450 cases have been settled out of court for a total amount of $125 million but still Bayer has a lot more to settle. The rise in cases is an outcome of the involvement of the top officials of the company in ignoring and hiding the bad effects of the drug.
  7. 27th February 2003- Plaintiffs in Germany and Texas are claiming compensations worth $500 million and $100 million respectively for the damages they have suffered. Also the investors are letting go their Bayer’s stock fearing the amount of damages that the company has to settle against the various cases imposed on them.
  8. 3rd March 2003- Almost 100 Baycol cases are being settled out of court by a German lawyer. As per the lawyer 5% of the 2000 cases that he is representing, suffer from serious side effects of the drug.
  9. 5th March 2003- Bayer announced that the company acted very responsibly in reaction to the drug’s side effect. The manufacturer believed that the practitioners’ were unable to prescribe the medicine in the desired manner; so a total recall of the drug was inevitable.
  10. 4th April 2003- As on date, Bayer, the manufacturer of the drug had already settled 500 cases but 8,400 hundred Baycol cases are still pending and the number is on rise. Bayer maintained that it will release the updated status on a later date of the same month.

On 18th September 2003, Bayer stated that the compensations it has cleared till date amounted to $477 million. This figure only included the out of court settlements. The consolidated amount paid off in lawsuits can only be produced after settling another 11,000 lawsuits, for which the manufacture is still refusing to take legal liability. Bayer wanted all the cases pertaining to Baycol to be clubbed in class action lawsuit. However the same was denied as Judge Michael David maintained that cases pertaining to Baycol were too diverse to become a class action lawsuit.