The combination and use of the weight loss drugs dexfenfluramine, fenfluramine, and phentrimine, popularly known as fen-phen, have been known to cause serious lung and heart medical problems. The drugs were distributed by a company called American Home Products (AHP), which is a part of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, and sold under the brand names Redux ® (dexfenfluramine) and Podamin ® (fenfluramine). Despite serious safety concerns, the manufacturer, as well as doctors and diet clinics, sold the fen-phen combination. As a result, over 6 million people used the unsafe diet drug "cocktail".
The diet drugs were pulled off the market in 1997 when a report showed that as many as 30% of tested fen-phen users showed some heart valve damage. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has received reports of a staggering 123 deaths where these diet drugs were identified and continues to regularly receive reports of heart valve disease linked to fen-phen.
Serious health problems associated with these drugs led to a flood of singular and lawsuits filed nationwide against the drug makers. In response, the manufacturer agreed to a total settlement claims of and established a large $4 billion fund for screening and compensation for these victims. The company also stated it would set aside $14.6 billion to pay claims and litigation expenses. The settlement covers fen-phen users with heart valve damage. The final deadline to participate in the settlement was May 3, 2003 (there is an July 3, 2003 extension for some individuals). The settlement does not apply to fen-phen users with Primary Pulmonary Hypertension (PPH). Fen-phen users with PPH may pursue their legal claims individually. For more information on Primary Pulmonary Hypertension (PPH) claims, click here.