Biovail settles another legal battle

Wed Apr 23, 2008 9:13am EDT
 
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Biovail Corp said on Wednesday that it had agreed to settle a class-action suit brought about by a Canadian pension plan that dated back more than four years.

The country's biggest publicly traded drugmaker said the compensation would be part of the amount that it agreed to when it settled a U.S. securities class action suit late last year.

At that time it agreed to a total settlement of $138 million. The settlement, which it estimated it would pay about $85 million after the resolution of insurance claims, centered on claims Biovail made regarding its two key products, Cardizem LA and Wellbutrin XL.

The deal extends to all shareholders who purchased shares between Feb 7 2003 and March 2, 2004.

The company said on Wednesday the agreement contains no admission of wrongdoing by the company or individual defendants named in the case.

Biovail still faces an inquiry from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission regulatory and criminal issues stemming from an October 2003 truck accident involving a shipment of its Wellbutrin drug, and Biovail's disclosure of the impact of the accident on 2003 results.

Although the company reached a settlement with U.S. securities regulators recently, four current and former officers still face charges from the regulator.

Bill Wells, who was named the company's new chief executive on Monday effective May 1, said settling the company's extensive list of lawsuits was one of his top priorities in restoring the company's financial stability as well as its credibility.

"We have an extraordinary amount of legal fees," he told Reuters. "As we resolve those, our legal fees will go down and our cash base will improve."

($1=$1.02 Canadian)

(Reporting by Scott Anderson; editing by Renato Andrade)