HRT Breast Cancer Lawsuit Ends in $5M Verdict for Utah Woman

A Utah woman has been awarded $5.1 million in damages through a hormone replacement therapy (HRT) lawsuit filed after she developed breast cancer that was allegedly caused by her use of Prempro, Provera and Premarin. 

Toshiko Okuda brought the complaint against Wyeth, now a subsidiary of Pfizer, and Upjohn in 2004, alleging that the drug makers failed to adequately warn about the risk of breast cancer from side effects of HRT medications.

Following a four week trial, a federal jury ruled late last week that Okuda’s use of the hormone replacement therapy medications over a period of 17 years was the cause of her breast cancer diagnosis in 2002, and that the drug makers were liable for $5.1 million in compensatory damages.

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Defense attorneys have indicated that the drug makers plan to file post-trial motions and an appeal in an effort to have the verdict overturned, according to a report by the Salt Lake Tribune.

About 10,000 HRT breast cancern lawsuits have been filed by consumers throughout the United States, raising similar allegations over the side effects of Prempro, Provera and Premarin, which are used to artificially boost hormone levels in women undergoing menopause due to surgery or in postmenopausal women.

In 2002, a study by the Women’s Health Initiative first warned of the risk of breast cancer from hormone replacement therapy, sparking the widespread litigation.

A recent study using data from the Nurse’s Health Study, found an 88% increase in the risk of breast cancer for women who underwent HRT over a period of 10-15 years. The risk doubled if the women used HRT for 15 to 20 years.

Several juries nationwide have awarded multi-million dollar compensatory damage awards to plaintiffs diagnosed with breast cancer after HRT use, including a number of cases that included punitive damage awards after juries found that Wyeth intentionally hid the risks associated with the medications. However, the drug makers have also obtained defense verdicts in a number of cases.

In December, it was reported that Pfizer had reached breast cancer settlements in nearly half of all lawsuits over hormone replacement therapy medications brought against their Wyeth subsidiary.

3 Comments

  • RaeleenAugust 22, 2020 at 7:46 pm

    At the age of 40, I received a full hysterectomy; for 16 years I took Premain daily (1980 to 1996). I quit immediately the day I saw the dangers of Premain televised on national news; its relationship to breast cancer. Just recently (06/2020) I was diagnosed with invasive-filtering breast cancer. Do I have any legal recourse?

  • WinnieSeptember 11, 2019 at 12:04 am

    Suffered breast cancer 2009 Brain tumor 2010 My doctors feel both caused by premarin following a hysterectomy

  • joyceOctober 16, 2012 at 2:06 am

    victims need to settle their medicare expenses so they can get the rest of the money owed

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