March 8, 2011
The following is a summary from the complete story on BUSINESS WIRE
SAN FRANCISCO--Michael W. Sobol, a partner with the national plaintiffs' law firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, announces that U.S. District Court Judge Richard H. Kyle today awarded $8.9 million to 12 leading organizations, universities, and charities devoted to promoting women's health and well-being across the nation.
The awards complete the distribution of $8.9 million in residual funds of the $16.5 million settlement brought on behalf of plaintiffs and class members represented by Mr. Sobol and Lieff Cabraser, along with the Minneapolis, Minnesota law firm, Gustafson Gluek, against drug manufacturer Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Inc. The consumer protection lawsuit was brought by purchasers of the hormone replacement drug Estratest who charged that Solvay deceptively marketed and falsely advertised Estratest. After payment to class members who submit timely claims, here $7.5 million was paid to class members, a court may distribute any residue funds to nonprofit and charitable organizations whose work serves the underlying objectives of the lawsuit.
"In a time of strained resources for public and non-profit organizations, today's decision will provide substantial financial assistance for renowned organizations and important programs nationwide and in the Bay Area that are dedicated to improving the health and well-being of women and their families. After all, it was women who purchased Estratest for treatment of symptoms of menopause," stated Sobol.
Sixty percent of the residue funds was awarded, in the amount of $1.066 million each, to support programs and activities related to women's health concerns at the Mayo Clinic and four university medical schools, University of California, San Francisco, the University of Minnesota, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and Meharry Medical College.
"Since its establishment in 2001, the UCSF Women's Health Clinical Research Center has greatly increased multidisciplinary clinical and translational research advancing women's health across the lifespan. We greatly appreciate the continued support and will continue to grow collaborative research programs that improve the lives of women," said Deborah Grady, MD, MPH, founder and co-director of the UCSF WHCRC.
The other 40% of the residue funds were divided equally, in the amount of $592,277, among six non-profit groups who are either leading organizations in the United States dedicated to the study and treatment of menopausal symptoms, or organizations that promote the health and welfare of women and children. These organizations are the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), the Hormone Foundation, Menopause Alliance, Sojourner Project, Safe Haven Family Shelter, and the San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center. Finally, the Court awarded $100,000 to the Minnesota Chapter of the Federal Bar Association's The Pro Se Project, whose purpose is to provide pro se representation to civil litigants in the District of Minnesota.
"This award will have a profound impact in our community to ensure that every child is safe and protected and grows up in a loving and nurturing family," said Katie Albright, Executive Director of the San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center.
The Women's Health Clinical Research Center was established in 2001 and is a major component of The National Center of Excellence in Women's Health at the University of California, San Francisco. The Research Center provides a vibrant and growing focus for clinical research activities and significantly strengthens clinical and teaching programs in women's health. The department's co-director and founder is an international expert on menopause and the risks and benefits of postmenopausal hormone therapy. Other researchers at the Research Center are exploring the ways that appropriate screening, prevention, and treatment of disease differ by sex. One special focus of investigation is how aging affects women and their quality of life.