Pfizer Can’t Dust Off Asbestos Lawsuit Just Yet

The U.S. Supreme Court today refused to shield Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) from asbestos lawsuits pertaining to a former subsidiary, Quigley Co., a unit long bankrupt that stopped most operations in 1992.

The justices rejected Pfizer’s appeal of a lower court’s ruling that left the company vulnerable to claims related to Quigley, which made asbestos-containing products for the steel industry from the 1940s through the 1970s, according to Bloomberg. Asbestos was once widely used as an insulator but was later shown to cause cancer.

Pfizer acquired Quigley in 1968, and believed the doomed company’s bankruptcy hearing protected it from lawsuits filed under Pennsylvania state law by the Baltimore law firm of Peter Angelos.

The lawsuits, first filed in 1999, claimed that Pfizer was responsible for Quigley’s products since its logo appeared on the box. Even the Obama administration has weighed in on this controversial issue, urging the court to reject the appeal.

Pfizer competitors have had a better week than their counterpart. Merck (NYSE:MRK) today won an injunction against India’s Aprica Pharmaceuticals, according to Reuters, preventing the firm from launching generic versions of two Type 2 diabetes drugs to compete with Merck’s more expensive versions. Sixty-five million people reportedly take medicine for Type 2 diabetes.

Additionally, Abbott Labs (NYSE:ABT) gained approval from the Food and Drug Administration for its hepatitis C genotyping test — the first of its kind. According to The Motley Fool, 3.2 million people in the U.S. have hepatitis C. The disease has been gaining a lot of medical attention lately for its insignificant symptoms that can lead to much more serious issues, and Abbott should reap the reward from such a convenient test.

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