Germans to be Included in Bayer Baycol Suit - Reuters - January 11, 2002

Germans to be Included in Bayer Baycol Suit
Reuters
January 11, 2002

FRANKFURT (Reuters) — German lawyer Michael Witti said on Friday that attorneys filing a class-action suit against Bayer AG over withdrawn cholesterol drug Baycol had found a way to represent German and other cases outside the United States.

Witti said lawyers making claims against Bayer would meet in the U.S. next week to discuss strategy, adding that he was encouraged by the participation of Chicago law firm Kenneth B. Moll & Associates.

``One of the law firms with a lot of success in big class-action suits is ready to pull in the Germans,'' Witti told Reuters, declining to give details.

He said he would discuss the planned suit at a news conference in Berlin on Monday.

A spokesman for Bayer said the company was preparing a written statement but declined further comment.

By 1356 GMT, Bayer shares were down 2.9 percent at 37.12 euros, the biggest loser on the DAX index.

Bayer withdrew Baycol in August after it was linked with more than 50 deaths around the world.

The Baycol recall led to a spate of lawsuits against Bayer and speculation that the inventor of aspirin a century ago would have to meet compensation claims.

In a late-August report, Morgan Stanley said it would expect any settlement to cost Bayer less than $5 billion, ``significantly less than the 10 billion euros ($8.93 billion) currently implied in the share price.''

At the time, Bayer shares cost about 36 euros. The shares were down just over one percent to 37.14 euros at 1500 GMT on Friday.

U.S. lawyer Ed Fagan, who has worked with Witti on Nazi slave labour claims, said in August he would try to expand the suit against Bayer to embrace cases worldwide and had also included GlaxoSmithKline Plc (quote from Yahoo! UK & Ireland: GSK.L) in the action.