Woman can sue Pfizer, rules court

Damages sought for alleged negligence against firm who produced and marketed steroid

Lawyers for Pfizer asked the High Court to strike out the claim. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/ The Irish Times

Lawyers for Pfizer asked the High Court to strike out the claim. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/ The Irish Times

Sat, Aug 2, 2014, 01:00

The High Court has cleared the way for a woman who claims she was left with permanent health problems after using a steroid produced by Pfizer to sue the pharmaceutical giant for damages.

She has brought a High Court action seeking damages for alleged negligence against Pfizer Ireland and Pfizer, who manufactured and marketed the steroid.

Lorna Savage is also suing doctors who prescribed the steroid she took to treat a rash over two years in the late 1990s, sold under the trade name deltacortril. She claims she was never warned about the possible side effects of using the steroid.The claims are denied.

Inexcusable delay

In a pretrial motion lawyers for Pfizer asked the High Court to strike out the claim on the grounds there had been an inordinate and inexcusable delay by Ms Savage in prosecuting the action. Her lawyers opposed the motion, and argued the case should be allowed proceed to trial.

Yesterday at the High Court Mr Justice George Birmingham found in favour of Ms Savage and dismissed the application to strike out her action. The judge said that while the delay had been inordinate, it was not inexcusable.

Ms Savage, (43) from Cobh in Co Cork claims she developed a serious medical condition, known as Avascular necrosis, from using deltacortril to treat the rash which was caused by an inflammation of her blood vessels.