Hormone Therapy Breast Cancer Lawsuits Can Proceed in State Court

A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court not to hear an appeal filed by Pfizer has cleared the way for state court hormone replacement therapy breast cancer lawsuits filed by more than 100 women in Minnesota to proceed. 

By turning down the opportunity to hear the case last Tuesday, the Supreme Court let a decision by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals stand, which allowed lawsuits brought by 116 women to proceed in Minnesota state courts, instead of being transferred to federal court.

All of the lawsuits claim that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) drugs manufactured by Wyeth and Pharmacia caused plaintiffs to develop breast cancer, and that the companies, now both owned by Pfizer, failed to warn patients and doctors of the potential side effects of hormone therapy.

Did You Know? Millions of Philips CPAP Machines Recalled

Philips DreamStation, CPAP and BiPAP machines sold in recent years may pose a risk of cancer, lung damage and other injuries.

Learn More

The appeal was joined by a number of pharmaceutical companies, who argued that the cases should have been removed to federal court. In general, drug companies prefer to have cases tried in federal courts, where judges and sometimes juries are seen as more sympathetic to public interests.

Hormone replacement therapy involves the use of hormones and progestins to artificially boost hormone levels in women undergoing menopause due to surgery or in postmenopausal women, to provide relief from symptoms such as hot flashes, irregular menstruation or weight gain.

In 2002 the National Institutes of Health released the results of studies that found women receiving HRT were at higher risk of breast cancer, strokes and heart attacks. The studies, part of the Women’s Health Initiative, sparked most of the breast cancer lawsuits over hormone replacement therapy that are currently pending throughout the country.

About 9,000 Prempro lawsuits have been filed against Pfizer’s Wyeth unit by women who claim that they developed breast cancer from the hormone replacement therapy. Wyeth has lost five of the last seven HRT lawsuits that have gone to trial, resulting in tens of millions of dollars in compensatory and punitive damages. The punitive damages have been awarded by juries who saw Wyeth’s behavior as reckless disregard for the risk of injury to consumers.

22 Comments

  • CindyMarch 23, 2021 at 5:11 am

    My old oncologist put me on tamoxifen after I was done with a year chemotherapy then because I have such severe adverse reactions to dirty put me on Arimidex I was on a remedy and July and August of 2017 and had such severe adverse reactions severe bone pain among all other types of side effects ever since my bone pain has never gotten back to normal they deserve to have a lawsuit on AstraZeneca t[Show More]My old oncologist put me on tamoxifen after I was done with a year chemotherapy then because I have such severe adverse reactions to dirty put me on Arimidex I was on a remedy and July and August of 2017 and had such severe adverse reactions severe bone pain among all other types of side effects ever since my bone pain has never gotten back to normal they deserve to have a lawsuit on AstraZeneca the manufacturer of theArimidex!!!

  • ElizabethMarch 14, 2021 at 10:12 pm

    I took Premarin for about 5 years and had breast cancer. I was on chemotherapy for 9 months. Is it to late to join a class action.

  • RobinJuly 14, 2020 at 4:02 pm

    I had 2 sister's with breast caner and the cause was premrin... my oldest sister passed away in 2009... my 2nd sister has been caner free for 12 years now... my question is if anyone knows is it to late for her to file lawsuit?? I was actually taking the same hormone pill and my oldest sister called an told me that was what caused her cancer ahe TOLD ME TO STOP...

  • EdithMay 6, 2020 at 10:41 pm

    I took Premarin for over 10 years and had breast cancer surgery in 2006. I had a lumpectomy and many weeks for radiation, and am left with a large scar. It is now 2020 and I would like to find an attorney who would take on a group of us. I see there are others who would join. Has the statute of limitations passed? Is a lawsuit still possible?

  • MadalenaFebruary 25, 2020 at 2:32 am

    I took Anastrozole for 2 years and it has been a nightmare. I quit taking it because I got permanent joint/muscle stiffness and pain on my legs from my toes to my thighs, along with hot flashes, insomnia, lack of energy. I suffer constant pain almost every night. It caused me to develop arthritis in my knee. A horrible, terrible nightmare every night.

  • BonnieFebruary 18, 2020 at 12:56 am

    I started taking estrogen in the 90's and took for 10 yrs. last yr. I was diagnosed with breast cancer estrogen and progesterone positive. I had breast surgery and radiation. Now taking Arimedex which is a terrible drug with terrible side effects. Because the pharmaceutical company failed to let us know the danger of this medicine we have all had to suffer. I feel we deserve to be compensated bu[Show More]I started taking estrogen in the 90's and took for 10 yrs. last yr. I was diagnosed with breast cancer estrogen and progesterone positive. I had breast surgery and radiation. Now taking Arimedex which is a terrible drug with terrible side effects. Because the pharmaceutical company failed to let us know the danger of this medicine we have all had to suffer. I feel we deserve to be compensated but we're do you find a lawyer who will take on the drug company.

  • GingerSeptember 16, 2019 at 6:15 pm

    I was on Arimidex since 2014 Terrible Drugs for your bones, I never had such problems until I was on this medication along with other side effects I was 32 & healthy until this!

  • PhyllisAugust 30, 2019 at 11:26 pm

    I took anastrozole for9 days my doctor says side effects should be gone after 81 days but their not hands hurt all the time. When I sit more then 10 minutes I hurt from waist down.

  • EllenAugust 11, 2019 at 7:31 am

    I began taking Premarin in the early 1980's and took it until I got breast cancer in about 2006. I was progesterone receptor positive. I endured 32 radiation treatments. The cancer came back in the other breast in 2011 and I had a double mastectomy. I was never told the danger of taking estrogen, especially for that long period of time. I would like to find an attorney who would take my case again[Show More]I began taking Premarin in the early 1980's and took it until I got breast cancer in about 2006. I was progesterone receptor positive. I endured 32 radiation treatments. The cancer came back in the other breast in 2011 and I had a double mastectomy. I was never told the danger of taking estrogen, especially for that long period of time. I would like to find an attorney who would take my case against the manufacturer. This should not have happened.

  • annetteFebruary 27, 2019 at 5:48 pm

    took anastrozole for five years ,several side effects.could not continue taking. have lasting effects.memory became bad.hip pain joint pain, couldn't sleep,hair loss, pain in top of head, severe fatigue ,have lasting effects ,unable to work doing what I had done for 20 some years.

  • ninaMarch 3, 2015 at 8:27 am

    I was on estrogen for 10 years my doctor never mentioned the dangers of the drug. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008. I could ever find an attorney to take my case. I was wondering if it is to not late to join a class law suite. If it is not to late to join please let know. I DEVELOPED AND ALLERGIC TO THE DRUG ARIMIDEX BUT WAS NOT TAKEN OFF THE DRUG. I went of the drug on my own and [Show More]I was on estrogen for 10 years my doctor never mentioned the dangers of the drug. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008. I could ever find an attorney to take my case. I was wondering if it is to not late to join a class law suite. If it is not to late to join please let know. I DEVELOPED AND ALLERGIC TO THE DRUG ARIMIDEX BUT WAS NOT TAKEN OFF THE DRUG. I went of the drug on my own and was some what better with in matter of weeks.

  • EvaJuly 22, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    I have had breast cancer and it has been proven by Duke Cancer Center it was caused by HRT's. I was treated in North Carolina . I now live in Louisiana? I have been trying for three months to find a lawyer to help me and I have been turned down with no good reason. If any one knows of an attorney or a class action suit open. Please let me know.

  • CharmaraMarch 3, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    I was diagnosed with stage III triple positive breast cancer in August of 2011. I took progesterone hormone therapy to save my pregnancy. I have a healthy 3 year old but now have limitations as a result of my breast cancer. I had to take eight chemo treatments consisting of adriamicin, cytoxin, taxol and herceptin. I still have to take tamoxifen for five years and have a hysterectomy. This drug ev[Show More]I was diagnosed with stage III triple positive breast cancer in August of 2011. I took progesterone hormone therapy to save my pregnancy. I have a healthy 3 year old but now have limitations as a result of my breast cancer. I had to take eight chemo treatments consisting of adriamicin, cytoxin, taxol and herceptin. I still have to take tamoxifen for five years and have a hysterectomy. This drug even though it helped save my son's life, almost took my life. I agree what is the hold up.

  • SandraMay 20, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    I found out I had breast cancer last year. Mine is the hormone based cancer caused by HRT. I have been through every therapy and need reconstruction. I just read the statute of limitations to file suit is 2 years from the date of the HRT study and not the date you discovered you had cancer. How insane is that? If you don't know about the study and did not have cancer, why would you file a law suit[Show More]I found out I had breast cancer last year. Mine is the hormone based cancer caused by HRT. I have been through every therapy and need reconstruction. I just read the statute of limitations to file suit is 2 years from the date of the HRT study and not the date you discovered you had cancer. How insane is that? If you don't know about the study and did not have cancer, why would you file a law suit? Anyone know a premerin lawyer in Louisiana? This sounds like a runing against women, the courts have always been gender-biased!

  • PeterNovember 5, 2011 at 4:39 am

    My wife discovered, incidentally, that she had contracted invasive ductal carcinoma (double positive) in 2006. Cytoxin, Adriamicin chemo for 2 months, radiation for 10 weeks, in the end, a hysterectomy, Femara for 2 years, now on Tamoxifin for another 3 years. The link between breast cancer and Wyeth's poison cocktail has been established. What's the hold up?

  • louiseOctober 4, 2011 at 3:57 am

    Itook hrt for five years 9 years later came up with breast cancer,thank god Its gone but having my breast removed and chemo will never leave my mind how many of doctors still give this and if you are a judge what would you do if it was your wife daughter you take the case then

  • PauletteMarch 19, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    I took HRT Activella for over 10 years. I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in January, 2011. The lump the surgeon removed from my breast was 95% estrogen, progesterone receptor positive, due to HRT. I'm currently going through 5 weeks of radiation therapy, five days a week. After the radiation treatments, I will be taking a hormone blocking medication for 5 years. This has affected m[Show More]I took HRT Activella for over 10 years. I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in January, 2011. The lump the surgeon removed from my breast was 95% estrogen, progesterone receptor positive, due to HRT. I'm currently going through 5 weeks of radiation therapy, five days a week. After the radiation treatments, I will be taking a hormone blocking medication for 5 years. This has affected my life & career.

  • Missing momFebruary 7, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    My mother had the HER 3 version of breast cancer. We were told in 2000 of the cancer. She fought the battle for 3 long years. We lost her in the summer of 2003. We found out this week that her case was won. As always, mom gets the last word.

  • GayleJanuary 14, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    I took Premarin fo over two years; went for a routine mamogram which found lump; in December 2010, I had a double mastectomy and am now undergoing chemo therapy.

  • DonnaDecember 11, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    I took HRT for around 5 years. I developed breask cancer and chose to have a double mastectomy. I was lucky because they found cancer in my other breast too. I had to endure 3 months of chemo and am now on Arimidex for the nest 5 years.

  • LynnOctober 23, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    for whatever it's worth - I have a letter from my perscription drug insurance company Medco informing me that my current HRT Activella (low dosage) is no longer a Preferred Perscription which will result in higher out of pocket. Medco is recommending I discuss with my doctor switching over to Prempro. seems to me the insurance company has a role this lawsuit, as well?

  • DarleneOctober 21, 2010 at 2:46 am

    I have taken premarin& premo forsometime I I DEVELOPED ESTRIGEN BREAST CANCER IN 08.. I HAD RADIATION TWICE A DAY FOR A WEEK OF BUSSINESS DAYS. I AM ON CHEMO ESTRIGEN BLOCKER FOR AT LEAST FIVE YEARS OR LONGER. I FIRST TOOK ARIMIDEX ESTRIGEN BLOCKER VERY VERY HARD ON MY BODY. HAD TO CHANGE TO FEMARA WHICH I WILL BE ON FOR AT LEAST FIVE YRS. OR LONGER.

Share Your Comments

I authorize the above comments be posted on this page*

Have Your Comments Reviewed by a Lawyer

Provide additional contact information if you want an attorney to review your comments and contact you about a potential case. This information will not be published.

NOTE: Providing information for review by an attorney does not form an attorney-client relationship.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

More Top Stories

Philips DreamStation Recall Repairs Allowed To Proceed, Subject to CPAP Foam Preservation Requirements
Philips DreamStation Recall Repairs Allowed To Proceed, Subject to CPAP Foam Preservation Requirements (Posted 5 days ago)

A federal judge will allow Philips to replace and repair recalled CPAP devices, but ordered the company to preserve any devices which are replaced, and the foam, blower box and SD cards of any which undergo repairs to replace toxic sound abatement foam.