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Pfizer Unit Must Face Investor Class Action Over Pristiq

Pfizer Inc.’s Wyeth unit must face a class action by investors claiming the drugmaker hid negative data on Pristiq, an anti-depressant marketed as the first non-hormone menopause treatment.

U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan today granted a request by two pension funds to sue on behalf of all investors who bought Wyeth common stock from June 26, 2006, through July 24, 2007. The plaintiffs claim Wyeth misled them by failing to disclose information about Pristiq’s effects on the heart and liver, which delayed the drug’s approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The suit was filed in 2007 by the City of Livonia Employees’ Retirement System. The plaintiffs, led by the Pipefitters Union Local 537 Pension Fund, say Wyeth stock dropped $5.70 after the company disclosed the negative effects publicly. The investors are seeking unspecified damages.

Pfizer, the world’s biggest drug company, acquired Wyeth in 2009.

“The court’s decision is limited to preliminary procedural issues,” Chris Loder, a spokesman for the New York-based company, said in an e-mailed statement. “The opinion does not address the merits of the case.” He said the company will fight the lawsuit.

The case is City of Livonia Employees Retirement System v. Wyeth, 07-cv-10329, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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