Contrary to some expectations, Philadelphia juries have not been proving a soft touch for “opt-out” plaintiffs who’ve journeyed there from around the country to sue drugmakers over alleged side effects from the diet-drug compound. One recent jury awarded a mere $4,000 to five women from Utah after a three-week trial, and another returned an outright defense verdict in a case brought by four Philadelphia women. Most of the plaintiffs exhibit heart murmurs and other subtle heart irregularities which they contend were brought on by the use of Pondimin and Redux, but a plaintiff’s lawyer says their case is weakened because most display no symptoms and are not under a doctor’s care for the claimed irregularities. “They don’t have treating doctors who will back up their stories,” agrees a lawyer for Wyeth. “The juries aren’t buying it.” (L. Stuart Ditzen, “Diet-drug lawsuits netting slim payoffs”, Philadelphia Inquirer, Aug. 16). For more on fen-phen, see Jan. 25, Jan. 6 and links from there; Apr. 28 ($1 billion verdict in Texas for fatality claimed to be linked to drug).