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Pfizer Prepared to Pay $772M to Settle Prempro Lawsuits

Pfizer has reportedly settled a third of all pending Prempro lawsuits, and has set aside at least $772 million to resolve all claims filed by women who allege that the hormone replacement therapy caused them to develop breast cancer.

According to a regulatory filing (pdf) with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Pfizer took a charge of $172 million in the first quarter to settle Prempro lawsuits and pay verdicts in cases it has already lost at trial. The company also set aside $300 million as the minimum cost expected to resolve the remaining cases.

These funds are in addition to another $300 million in charges that were noted in prior quarters, bringing the total amount that the New York-based drug maker is currently prepared to pay to resolve the Prempro litigation to $772 million. However, the company has indicated that additional charges may be necessary if their estimated values are inaccurate.

Prempro contains a combination of the drugs Provera and Premarin, to artificially boost hormone levels in women undergoing menopause due to surgery or in postmenopausal women. Known as hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, the drugs are designed to provide relief from symptoms such as hot flashes, irregular menstruation or weight gain.

About 10,000 lawsuits over Prempro have been filed against Pfizer’s wholly-owned subsidiary Wyeth. All of the claims involve similar allegations that Wyeth failed to adequately research the side effects of Prempro or warn that the medication may increase the risk of breast cancer.

Most of the complaints were filed after a 2002 study by the National Institutes of Health found that women receiving hormone replacement therapy (HRT) were at a higher risk of breast cancer, strokes and heart attacks. By that time, Prempro and other HRT drugs had been used by more than 6 million women.

A number of Prempro trials have resulted in multi-million dollar compensatory awards against the drug maker and even larger punitive damage awards after juries determined that Wyeth intentionally hid the risk of breast cancer from Prempro.

Pfizer announced in its filing that it reached Prempro settlements on March 31 with roughly one-third of the plaintiffs who have brought a claim. Another 3,000 of the cases were successfully dismissed. However, that still leaves company with thousands of Prempro breast cancer lawsuits to settle or otherwise resolve.

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13 comments

  1. Joyce Reply

    An occasional update of progress involving settlement of claim would be appreciated. Many of us continue to suffer from problems resulting from
    previous breast cancer surgeries. Many of us will never recover completely.

  2. Margaret Reply

    I very much agree with the comment by Joyce posted above. Our lives were changed forever, and we deserve to know what is happening now. It has been long enough.

  3. Sharon Reply

    I agree with the above 2 posts – if our cases were out of MDL and in the local state courts, we would have all had our cases gong to trial by now. With the MDL, Pfizer and the like are just dragging their feet.

  4. Gladys Reply

    I agree with the comments of Joice and Margaret , we have suffered a lot with problems resulting from previous breast cancer surgeries, our lives have changed, some of us died, another were mutilated, and for all of us our lives were dstroyed, I think it has been too long.

  5. Patty Reply

    I agree, wyeth and pfizer are playing cat and mouse, it’s been too long and it seems no one can tell me what is going on

  6. wilma Reply

    i agree with joyce and the other ladies, it has been long enough, and we do deserve to be update on what is going, my life have change and my body mutilated, where is the justice, breast cancer twice, so i am not a happy camper, but i am blessed to be alive.

  7. marnie Reply

    my concern is that the money has been put aside for us who have had our bodies mutilated as a result of prempro,etc, so who is draging this out if the money is there? are our lawyers wanting more money the longer it takes for us ?

  8. Shane Reply

    My mother received a total hysterectomy Oct 7, 1989. Malignant acites occurred Febuary 28, 2011 leading to hospitalization, complete debulking on March 1, 2011. Six treatments of chemotherapy beginning March 29, 2011 and ending on September 12, 2011. Was given 3-6 months survival as the cancer is Stage IV. Return on 10-12, 2011 for CT scans to receive results if chemotherapy has been effective. Final diagnosis: Ovarian Adenocarcinoma. In 1989, Gynecologists prescribed Prempro .625 mg that I continued to take for 20 years until current oncologist realized I was taking it and immediately discontinued the medication. Lost 60lbs, all hair, and going down hill. I am my mother’s only child. I am seeking a Prempro Litigating Attorney or firm. Any suggestions. She lives in Mississippi and I live in Kentucky.

  9. Kay Reply

    Because of their vile drug I am disfigured for life. That’s on top of the horror of being told I had breast cancer and going through all the treatment. That was almost 10 years ago. And yet nothing has been resolved. Every year when I get an update letter from my attorneys I get the feeling they’re just checking to see if I’m still alive. What a nightmare this whole thing has been. Shame on them. All of them.

  10. Barbara Reply

    I just recieved a letter from my lawyer stating that a retired judge will settle are claims for breast cancer. I live in California and there are 136 cases. 11500,000. is be distribted for all 136 cases. By the time the lawyers get half and the judge gets his share we might end up with 85,000. if we are so lucky. This is bull crap after having 2 brest cancers from taking there pills.

  11. Louisa Reply

    It shouldn’t matter how long you took premarin.It caused breast cancer so they need to pay.

  12. Shelby Reply

    First time here, I had breast cancer in 2001 took 6months of Chemo, and 6 weeks of Radiation, noone in my family ever had any breast cancer, so I researched this HRT that I had taken for 5 yrs., Premarin, ad talked to my oncologist about it he said I would have to have a letter from the Dr that prescribed it stating that it caused my breast cancer, that Dr said he wouldn’t do that. My cancer was estrogen positive. So I know that it was caused by the premarin. But I couldn’t get a Attorney to take it. Now I have had a mastectomy of left side and don’t like how I look, I could not have reconstructive surgery because of my health. So I have to remain looking like a sideshow I think had I known what it would look llike I would have had both removed at the time. Plus I was taking care of a very sick husband and myself I can hardly remember taking the nausea meds because my life was so busy, Good luck to you ladies.

  13. Terry Reply

    My mother-in-law was prescribed prempro by her doctor when she started menopause, she was told that it would make her “feel ten years younger”. Then in 2001 she was diagnosed with breast cancer, no females in her family has ever had this. She had a mastectomy and thats when another doctor told her to throw away the prempro, it has been found to cause brest cancer. She immediatly filed her lawsuit. After 1 1/2 years of chemo and radiation treatments not to mention hospital stays of two to three weeks at a time over 2 years, she died. It was not what you are told, dying people close thier eyes and go peacefully. I was there, it was a violent violent death, She started gasping for air, contourting her body and screaming with pain, this went on for 3 very agonizing minutes and it killed us all inside knowing that we couldn’t help. That was in 2004, it is now 2013 and we are still waiting, according to our attorney, Phizer/Wyeth is offering $130,000 dollars, thats it. Our attorney said if we tried going to trial we may end up with nothing! Really, are you kiddidng me, the multi billion dollar corporation is trying to say it wasn’t there fault. I wish anyone who is in this situation the best of luck, our hearts and wishes are with you all.

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