Wyeth has lost the second phase of a two-phase trial, with the judge ruling in favour of three women who claim to have suffered heart valve damage as a result of taking the company’s now withdrawn Pondimin (fenfluramine) diet drug.

Wyeth said that the Philadelphia judge has ruled the firm liable for the $2.5 million dollars in compensatory damages previously determined in the first phase of the trial. The judge has also awarded the plaintiffs – Lorraine Gordon, Sonia Jones and Susan Rives – $750,000, $500,000 and $1.25 million respectively in compensation.

The verdicts came at the end of the second phase of the trial that began on December 27. The first phase was completed on December 22, 2004. Wyeth says it will pursue post-trial motions and, if necessary, will appeal the verdicts.

Pondimin and the follow-up drug, Redux (dexfenfluramine), were withdrawn from the market in 1997, triggering a lengthy legal process for the US giant and forcing it to place almost $17 billion into its legal reserves