Bayer Loses U.S. High Court Case on Baycol Class-Action Suit

The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for two West Virginians to seek class-action status in a suit against a Bayer AG (BAYN) unit over its withdrawn cholesterol drug Baycol.

The justices today unanimously overturned a decision that said the pair was bound by a ruling rejecting a West Virginia class-action bid in an earlier Baycol suit.

Keith Smith and Shirley Sperlazza are seeking to sue Bayer Corp. on behalf of all West Virginians who took Baycol. They said they shouldn’t be bound by the earlier ruling because they weren’t involved in that case.

Bayer said in a statement that it “will continue to defend this case, including on the issue of class certification, should it move forward at the state level.”

Bayer withdrew Baycol from the market in August 2001. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Baycol was linked to rhabdomyolysis, a sometimes-fatal muscle breakdown disorder.

The case is Smith v. Bayer, 09-1205.

To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Stohr in Washington at gstohr@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net.

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