Prempro Settlements to Result in $1.2B Payments for Breast Cancer: Report

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By: Staff Writers | Published: June 20th, 2012

Pfizer is expected to pay a total of about $1.2 billion to settle lawsuits claiming that side effects of Prempro caused women to develop breast cancer

The drugmaker has already paid out $896 million to settle approximately 6,000 Prempro breast cancer lawsuits, and Pfizer has now set aside an additional $330 million to cover the remaining 4,000, according to a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The Prempro settlements come after six years of trials, in which several plaintiffs were awarded tens of millions of dollars, including punitive damages for the drug maker’s actions in withholding information about the risk of breast cancer from Prempro.

Commonly referred to as hormone replacement therapy (HRT), Prempro contains a combination of the drugs Provera and Premarin, which artificially boost hormone levels in women undergoing menopause due to surgery or in postmenopausal women. It was originally introduced by Wyeth, which was acquired by Pfizer in 2009.

About 10,000 women have filed a lawsuit after allegedly developing breast cancer from Prempro. In the litigation, 11 out of the 21 cases presented to a jury have resulted in a verdict in favor of the plaintiff.

In the early years those trials were against Wyeth, which originally developed Prempro, and Wyeth performed poorly in those cases. But in 2009 the company was acquired by Pfizer, which has won the last eight out of 10 trial verdicts.

If Pfizer is able to resolve all claims for the amount of money that has been set aside, each case will receive about $150,000 in compensation. However, some plaintiffs are likely to reject such offers, and Pfizer has noted that the remaining 4,000 claims may cost more to settle than the money set aside.

Most of the complaints were filed after a 2002 study by the National Institutes of Health found that women receiving 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.

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There Are 7 Comments So Far • (Add Your Comments)

  1. invasive ductal carcinoma stage two, 6 months of chemo, radiation and breast removal

  2. I took Prempro and etc., for more than 5-years. When I found out about its side affect in 2003, I voluntarily stopped taking it. In August 2004, I was diagnosed with ductal-breast cancer. After my mastectomy, I refused to take Tomaxafin, too. Whereas, I am the ONLY female in my family who has breast cancer.

    Hopefully, these pharmaceutal companies will stop playing Russian Roulette with people lives and the court system. Because they are guilty: Pay up and Shut up!!!

    What is greater than destroying a person’s health or life. Regardless, CANCER is a death sentence: PERIOD!!!

  3. I have had four surgeries on my right breast – nothing left there but skin. Surgeon refused to remove the breast after the third surgery – said still a good breast. As a result of the radiation, developed acid reflux. Lost 30 pounds in 1 year – only 138 to begin with. Tried to take the Arimidex, but could hardly walk down the halls. Put on Tamoxifen, developed suicidal thoughts. Was a fairly health person before this all developed. Only pill I ever took was the HRT. Have an older sister and two younger sisters, who never took HRT and they don’t have breast cancer. None in my family at all. When are these companies going to start taking care of the people they destroy?

  4. It shouldn’t matter long you were on the evil drug. If you got cancer they should pay.

  5. I am the middle of 3 sisters and am also the only one who took Prempro and the only one who has had breast cancer. I had the chemo and the radiation…….ugly experiences both. I am thankful to be a survivor but wonder why pharmecutical companies can continue to produce and market these drugs that have negative side effects that outweigh any benefit from the drug. I’ve really started questioning and researching everything the doctors offer at this point!

  6. I was given Prempro ten years ago and wasnt asked if I take medicine for a thyroid condition and I have been diagnosed with Lichen Scerlosis which amazingly I acquired right after the use of Prempro, I itch constantly everyday on my vagina, it is terrible, I get ulcerative sores, cant have sex anymore, it is terrible, no relief at all from anything I have tried.

  7. Diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in 2013. Never was warned about getting it from prempro.

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