1/25/2013 7:06:05 AM
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. ( BMY ) has agreed to pay $80 million to 15 patients killed or hurt during company-sponsored testing of an experimental drug for hepatitis C. Now the patients and families must sign onto the tentative settlement and submit to binding arbitration to determine how much money each will receive, according to a letter, reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, that was sent to one of the drug trial subjects outlining the terms of the deal. The letter, which was sent to a trial subject in Texas by the two lead plaintiffs' lawyers, described the $80 million figure as better than the lawyers expected. "We are especially pleased," wrote the lawyers, Robert Hilliard and Stephen Sheller, who noted that they expected a deal of $40 million to $50 million. Signing off on the agreement "avoids protracted and lengthy litigation and also the very real likelihood Bristol-Myers would have spent years appealing any large jury verdict." Messrs. Hilliard and Sheller declined to comment.
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