January 23, 2006
Bristol-Myers Squibb near settlement in Vanlev suit
Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) is close to settling a shareholder lawsuit over its failed experimental blood-pressure drug Vanlev for more than $150 million, The Wall Street Journal reported today. The settlement, which could be announced as early as this week, pertains to a suit that alleges Bristol-Myers Squibb hailed Vanlev as a potential blockbuster even as a dangerous side effect surfaced. The agreement could bring to nearly $1 billion the amount of money BMS has agreed to return to shareholders in the past two years. Vanlev was designed to treat high blood pressure and in the late 1990s was widely seen as the product that would restore BMS’ slumping drug portfolio. Some analysts predicted Vanlev could reach sales of as much as $4 billion a year. However, Vanlev never made it to market, with news of its trouble leading to sharp declines in BMS stock.