We have put together the following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) about Fen-Phen, Fen-Phen litigation and information about the Seventh Amendment to the Fen-Phen Class Action Settlement. Please click any question below to go to that section, or simply scroll down the page for all FAQ's.
- What is the issue with Fen Phen, Pondimin and Redux?
- What is the 7th Amendment?
- How do I know if I am part of the 7th Amendment Settlement Trust?
- Are there deadlines a Seventh Amendment Claimant should know about?
- What is the 2011 deadline?
- Who does the 2011 deadline affect?
- How does the 7th Amendment affect the deadline for me if my health condition worsens in the future and I qualify for Matrix Level III, IV or V benefits?
- How does the 7th Amendment affect surgery claims?
- If I am a Seventh Amendment Claimant, what compensation can I receive?
- What administrative steps does the Fund Administrator require for submitting a claim to the Supplemental Fund?
- What are the filing requirements? How do I know if I have met the filing requirements?
- What if I have already received a settlement from the Trust? Am I eligible for additional compensation?
- If I am found to be eligible for additional compensation, how much will I receive?
- What is the timeline for additional payment?
- If I am eligible for additional compensation from the Trust, will I be required to pay attorney fees? What will those fees be?
- What if my claim failed medical review? Do I now get another chance?
- Can I make a claim on behalf of someone that has passed away?
- What are the "qualifying conditions" that can make a person eligible for additional payment?
- Do I have to have the surgery / procedure to receive compensation?
- What is an echocardiogram? How much does it cost? Will insurance cover the cost?
- What should I ask or tell my doctor if I have taken Fen Phen?
- What medical steps should I take if I have taken Fen Phen?
- How do I get a copy of the 7th Amendment?
- How do I contact the AHP Settlement Trust?
- How do I request a copy of my file from the AHP Settlement Trust?
- What if I did not keep a copy of my echocardiogram tape or proof that I used the diet drugs when I submitted them to the trust?
- What is Petroff & Associates' background in Fen Phen litigation?
- Where can I obtain more information about American Home Products Corporation's Diet Drug Settlement Trust (AHP's Diet Drug Settlement Trust)?
The prescription diet drugs Fen-Phen, Pondimin and Redux have been found to cause heart problems such as heart valve disease and primary pulmonary hypertension, which can cause death. These prescription diet drugs were recalled in 1997 as a result of these alarming discoveries.back to top
Under the 7th Amendment, Wyeth agreed to pay an additional $1.275 billion to create a new Supplemental Class Settlement Fund ("Supplemental Fund") with a new process for reviewing and paying claims.
In addition to providing the Supplemental Fund, Wyeth will guarantee payment to Class Members participating in the Seventh Amendment who: 1) were diagnosed with FDA Positive or mild mitral regurgitation between the commencement of diet drug use and January 3, 2003 (or by a later date for those Class Members who were unable to receive an echocardiogram from the Trust's Screening Program by January 3, 2003, and who obtained a Court-approved extension) ("the Screening Period"); and, 2) who have a medical condition that qualifies them for payment on Matrix Levels III, IV or V, as modified by the Seventh Amendment, if those conditions occur and are diagnosed by the earlier of December 31, 2011, or 15 years from the date of their last diet drug use.back to top
If you are uncertain if you have previously registered with the 7th Amendment Settlement Trust, you need to contact the Trust directly and provide them with some personal information (name, date of birth, and social security number) of the individual that you are inquiring about.
If you have already filed a claim with the Trust you will have been assigned a "Diet Drug Recipient Number" (or "DDR #"). You will want to use your DDR # in all communications with the Trust.back to top
If you or a family member is part of the Seventh Amendment to the Fen-Phen Class Action Settlement, there is a deadline to qualify for a cash settlement for heart valve surgery or additional heart damage caused by taking Fen-Phen, Pondimin (Fenfluramine), or Redux (Dexfenfluramine).
Specifically, in order to qualify of additional cash benefits from the AHP Trust, the High Matrix Level Qualifying Factors must be diagnosed and also occur by the earlier of (a) December 31, 2011; or fifteen years from your last use of a qualifying diet drug. The qualifying diet drugs are Fen-Phen, Pondimin (Fenfluramine), and Redux (Dexfenfluramine).
We encourage you to evaluate your health status, as well as your family member's health status, and consider the possibility that potential side effects from these drugs may have occurred or worsened over time.
Additionally, if a loved one has died as a consequence of taking Fen-Phen, we encourage you to review their records and ensure that compensation has been made or will be pursued before deadlines expire.back to top
If you are a Seventh Amendment Class Member, High-Level Claim qualifying conditions or events must be diagnosed and occur by the earlier of (a) December 31, 2011; or (b) 15 years from the date of your last exposure to `diet drugs (as established by the proof of diet drug use that was submitted to the Trust). You can still file a claim after this deadline, but it must be for a condition that occurred before this deadline.back to top
Any Category One or Category Two Class Member who was diagnosed as having FDA Positive or mild mitral regurgitation between the commencement of Diet Drug use and the end of the Screening Period (January 3, 2003 or July 3, 2003 if the echocardiogram was provided by the AHP Trust) and who develops medical conditions that qualify on Matrix Level III, IV, or V, as modified by the Seventh Amendment, is entitled to receive payment from the Trust if those conditions are diagnosed and occur by the earlier of December 31, 2011, or 15 years from the Class Member's last use of Diet Drugs.back to top
7. How does the 7th Amendment affect the deadline for me if my health condition worsens in the future and I qualify for Matrix Level III, IV or V benefits?
Under the Seventh Amendment, Category One and Category Two Class Members must have been diagnosed with FDA Positive or mild mitral regurgitation between the commencement of diet drug use and the end of the Screening Period and progress to Level III, IV or V (as modified by the Seventh Amendment). The progression to Level III, IV or V must both be diagnosed and occur before December 31, 2011, or fifteen years after the last date of diet drug use, whichever is earlier. Although the deadline is shorter under the Seventh Amendment than under the pre-Seventh Amendment Settlement Agreement, Wyeth guarantees payment of these claims. That guarantee does not exist under the pre-Seventh Amendment Settlement Agreement and will not apply to those who elected not to participate in the Seventh Amendment. Medical conditions that arise after the earlier of December 31, 2011, or fifteen years after the last diet drug use, do not qualify for payment under the Seventh Amendment. The qualifying conditions can be diagnosed and occur at a later time for Class Members who are not in the Seventh Amendmentback to top
The Seventh Amendment provides Matrix Level III benefits for people who actually have surgery within specified deadlines, but it does not provide these benefits for people who did not have surgery, even if their doctors advised against it. However, the Seventh Amendment does permit a person needing surgery, but whose doctor has advised against it, to make certain claims at Matrix Levels IV and V.back to top
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10. What administrative steps does the Fund Administrator require for submitting a claim to the Supplemental Fund?
There was a deadline in August 2005 for submitting the Category One Proof of Claim Form. You should examine the Seventh Amendment or hire an attorney to determine if your claim was filed on time (unless you are a client of Petroff & Associates, in which case simply contact us.)back to top
No new Class Members are permitted. Anyone wanting to pursue a Fen Phen claim today must have filed the required forms by May 3, 2003 and had an echocardiogram performed by no later than the January 3, 2003 (or July 3, 2003 if the echocardiogram was provided by the AHP Trust). It doesn't matter how much Fen Phen, Pondimin, or Redux you took, and it doesn't matter what your medical condition is - you simply are barred from pursuing a claim if you have not met these basic filing requirements:
- Filed a BLUE Form, GREEN Form or PINK Form with the AHP Trust by May 3, 2003; and
- Had an Echocardiogram by January 3, 2003 (or July 3, 2003 if the echocardiogram was provided by the AHP Trust)
To determine whether you have met the above filing requirements, you need to contact the Trust directly.
See FAQ # 24 below more information on contacting the Trust.
12. What if I have already received a settlement from the Trust? Am I eligible for additional compensation?
Yes, even if you have already settled your Seventh Amendment claim and have received payment from the Trust, you may be eligible to receive additional compensation in certain circumstances. This "progression right" exists in two situations. The first situation is where the claimant accepted "B" Benefits under the Seventh Amendment, but available medical evidence demonstrates that the correct classification should have been an "A" Benefit level - thereby resulting in your claim value being multiplied by six. The second situation is where your condition has worsened since the original claim, such as surgery, but always because of one of the conditions mentioned below.back to top
It is not possible to predict your compensation amount, if any, without knowing the individual facts of your case. We currently are handling numerous cases involving "progression rights" for people who already settled their Seventh Amendment claims, and the expected additional compensation for those claimants ranges from under $50,000 (fifty thousand dollars) to almost $1,000,000 (one million dollars).back to top
The time between filing a claim and resolving it varies widely. The AHP Settlement Trust vigorously defends all aspects of all the claims that are submitted, and this sometimes leads to a very lengthy claims process. We have had some claims take more than five years to get resolved and others have taken less than a year.back to top
15. If I am eligible for additional compensation from the Trust, will I be required to pay attorney fees? What will those fees be?
You should never have to pay an attorney unless you hired that attorney and agreed to pay them for the work that resulted in your settlement. The fee agreement between you and your attorney is something you can and should negotiate with any attorney you hire. That agreement should be in writing and you should clearly understand it before signing it.back to top
If your claim failed Medical Review, you were able to ask the Fund Administrator to submit your claim to a different doctor for a second review. Your request must have been in writing within whatever deadline the Fund Administrator sets (usually 60 days), and you must have paid a non-refundable fee, not to exceed $2,500, to help cover the cost of the second review. If the second doctor found your claim payable, it should have been processed by the Fund Administrator as a payable claim, with no regard to the first review. If you did not request a second review and/or if the second review also found that your claim was not payable or was payable at a lower level than you had hoped, the Fund Administrator's determination is final and you are not be able to challenge or appeal that decision. However, you may still be entitled to additional compensation if your condition has worsened over time. See For Doctors / Lawyers tab for more information on conditions / events that could qualify you for additional compensation.back to top
Yes. Many of the claims we are currently handling involve surviving family members asserting a claim on behalf of a loved one who passed away.back to top
If you answer "yes" to any of the following questions and took Fen Phen, you may be eligible to recover an additional cash settlement.
- Have you or a family member had an echocardiogram recently that shows greater heart valve damage than your earlier echocardiograms showed?
- Have you or a family member experienced serious medical complications due to a heart condition?
- Have you or a family member visited your cardiologist and a valve surgery was recommended?
- Have you or a family member had heart surgery to repair or replace a heart valve at any time since you first used Fen Phen, Pondimin or Redux?
- Have you or a family member had any additional complications or worsening of the heart, lung or valve conditions following a valve surgery?
- Did you or a family member receive an initial cash settlement and have since discovered additional damage or had reparative valve surgery?
- Has a family member who took Fen Phen, Pondimin or Redux died due to a heart condition since his/her first use of either of those drugs?
Yes, in almost all situations. The precise answer to this question depends on the particular facts of your case, but almost everyone who currently has a claim for compensation has either had surgery or one of the other serious medical conditions mentioned in the Fen Phen Class Action Settlement Agreement. See For Doctors / Lawyers tab for more information on conditions / events that could qualify you for additional compensation.back to top
An echocardiogram is an ultrasound study of your heart, just like the abdominal sonogram provided to pregnant women. The echocardiogram is the main medical test used to qualify one for compensation under the Seventh Amendment, and it also is a medical test used for evaluating whether, and when, surgery should be performed. An echocardiogram is a simple procedure that usually takes less than an hour, involves no pain or anesthesia, and costs between $200 and $1,000. Your doctor can help you determine if such a test is needed and whether it is covered by insurance.back to top
First, you need to tell your doctor if you have ever taken Pondimin (fenfluramine) or Redux (dexfenfluramine) for any period of time, either alone or in combination with other drug products. You also should be familiar with your past echocardiograms and you should take copies of the echocardiogram reports with you unless your doctor already has them. It is important that your doctor be made aware that you have taken one of these drugs in the past. You should also make sure to tell your doctor about all of your medical symptoms, and it is a good idea to write them down before your visit and take your notes with you to your next visit.back to top
As attorneys, we cannot give medical advice. However, the Department of Health and Human Services ("DHHS") provides specific recommended guidelines for medical exams for people who have taken fenfluramine or dexfenfluramine for any period of time, either alone or in combination with other drug products. To see the full recommendation of the DHHS please click here.back to top
You may view a copy of the Seventh Amendment under the "Fen-Phen Settlement" section of our web site. A copy of the Seventh Amendment may also be found on the AHP Trust's official web site at www.settlementdietdrugs.com.back to top
The Trust can be reached at 1-800-386-2070 or 1-610-729-1000, or www.settlementdietdrugs.com or by mail at:
AHP Settlement Trust,
Attn: Document Fulfillment Department
1100 E. Hector Street, Suite 450
Conshohocken, PA 19428
You must make the request for a copy of your file in writing and you must include a payment of $50.00 to the following:
AHP Settlement Trust,
Attn: Document Fulfillment Department
1100 E. Hector Street, Suite 450
Conshohocken, PA 19428
26. What if I did not keep a copy of my echocardiogram tape or proof that I used the diet drugs when I submitted them to the trust?
You may ask the Trust, in writing, to provide a copy of your echocardiogram tape and proof of diet drug use that was submitted on your behalf to the Fund Administrator. You will have to pay the Trust a service fee of $50.00 for providing copies of your diet drug use proof and $100.00 for providing a copy of your echocardiogram tape.back to top
Petroff & Associates has dedicated its practice to the representation of those who were injured by the diet drugs Fen-Phen, Pondimin and Redux.
Petroff & Associates has extensive experience in handling numerous types of Fen-Phen cases, including cases involving heart valve surgery, severe heart or lung problems, and death. We have successfully settled more than one hundred cases involving surgery claims (both as Opt Outs and as claims in the class action settlement), and we have handled and are handling numerous other "High Level Claims" involving death and other serious heart conditions for clients who are entitled to financial compensation under the Nationwide Diet Drug Settlement.
We believe that people with these injuries deserve lawyers with extensive experience handling these claims. We will evaluate your potential surgery or High Level Claim free of charge and inform you of whether we will agree to represent you if you CLICK HERE AND COMPLETE OUR FEN-PHEN QUESTIONNAIRE.
In 1999, Kip Petroff was the first in the nation to take a case involving the diet drug Fen-Phen to jury trial - ultimately winning a twenty three million three hundred thousand dollar verdict for a Canton, Texas woman with heart valve disease. Twenty million dollars of this verdict was for punitive damages and three million three hundred thousand dollars was awarded for pain and suffering and medical expenses. The client's damages were for injury to her aortic and mitral heart valves. The client did not actually receive any money after the initial verdict. Due largely to the uncertainty of this verdict being upheld on appeal, the client settled her case on September 30, 1999, before a Judgment was entered on the verdict. On that date, the client settled her case for one million nine hundred ninety seven dollars plus Court Costs in the amount of eleven thousand four hundred eighty five dollars. Attorney's fees in the amount of seven hundred ninety eight thousand eight hundred dollars and litigation expenses in the amount of one hundred sixty five thousand eight hundred twenty nine dollars were withheld from the settlement. Therefore, the client received one million forty three thousand eight hundred and fifty six dollars as a result of the settlement.
Experience and tremendous success define Petroff & Associates' extensive handling of Fen-Phen litigation. Petroff & Associates has represented more than one hundred thousand Fen-Phen users nationwide, becoming industry leaders along the way.
Kip Petroff's work in Fen-Phen litigation has been nationally recognized in both print and television media. The non-fiction book Dispensing With The Truth, by Alicia Mundy, prominently features Kip Petroff as a Fen-Phen litigation expert.
See our Press & Media Page >>>back to top
28. Where can I obtain more information about American Home Products Corporation's Diet Drug Settlement Trust (AHP's Diet Drug Settlement Trust)?
For more information on AHP's Diet Drug Settlement Trust, see the AHP's Diet Drugs Claims Administration Web Site.
"The Trust has been established by order of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to administer the Claims and payments of benefits to class members who have registered under the Nationwide Class Action Settlement Agreement with American Home Products Corporation (the "Settlement Agreement"). The Settlement Agreement provides for compensation for specifically defined valvular heart conditions that are evaluated on a scientifically established matrix." Source: www.settlementdietdrugs.comback to top
More On Fen-Phen:
- Did You Take Fen-Phen?
- Fen-Phen Settlement Info
- About Fen-Phen and FAQ's
- Fen-Phen In The Press
- Fen-Phen Info For Doctors and Lawyers