Byron transfers Pfizer class action to Cook County

Steve Gonzalez Feb. 22, 2005, 8:43am

Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron

A consumer fraud class action lawsuit against drug giant Pfizer has been transferred from Madison County to Cook County, where it will be consolidated with a similar case.

3rd Circuit Court Judge Nicholas Byron moved the case on Feb. 17 under order from the Illinois Supreme Court.

Granite City resident Carol Lee Chiappa Burgess sued the pharmaceutical firm on May 28, 2004, citing financial damages.

She is accusing its subsidiary, Warner Lambert, of charging too much for the drug known as Neurontin, typically prescribed to help epileptic adults prevent seizures but widely known in the medical community as effective in treating other illnesses.

According to her complaint, Burgess says she was prescribed Neuronin for one of those "other" illnesses but it didn't work. She alleges she and class members are victims of a marketing conspiracy between doctors and the defendant.

“Because their authorized use of the product limited its potential for commercial exploitation and profit, defendants intentionally and willfully engaged in a campaign of systematic misrepresentations regarding the benefits of the drug," the complaint states.

In May 2004, Burgess' lawsuit came on the heels of a Warner Lambert guilty plea and $430 million fine paid to settle charges it deceptively marketed Neurontin. A former neurontin sales representative pocketed $26 million of that fine for turning "whistleblower' in the case.

Burgess claims she suffered financial harm by paying for products that had been misrepresented to her. She is represented by by Robert Rowland and Aaron Dickey of the Edwardsville law firm of Goldenberg, Miller, Heller & Antognoli.

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