Prempro Breast Cancer Damages of $45M Upheld

Verdicts of more than $45 million obtained against Pfizer by two women who developed breast cancer from Prempro were upheld last week by an appeals court.

The Prempro lawsuits were brought by Connie Barton and Donna Kendall, alleging that Pfizer’s Wyeth subsidiary failed to adequately warn that side effects of the hormone replacement therapy may cause breast cancer.

Following trial in 2009, the women were awarded massive compensatory and punitive damages by Philadelphia juries. Barton alone was originally awarded $78.7 million, but that amount was subsequently reduced after it was deemed to be excessive.

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Pfizer challenged both verdicts, arguing that the jury’s awards had no basis in fact or law.

On January 3rd, a panel of judges with the Pennsylvania Superior Court rejected Pfizer’s arguments and ruled that the drug maker must pay the women more than $45 million. According to a report by Bloomberg News, Pfizer indicates that it will appeal the ruling to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

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. 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 Prempro suits have been filed against Pfizer’s subsidiaries, all involving similar allegations that the drug makers 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 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.

Last month, Pfizer announced that it had set aside a total of $840 million to settle nearly half of the 10,000 claims against it. The company hopes to settle the remaining lawsuits with a set-aside of another $260 million in the first nine months of this year.

3 Comments

  • emmaNovember 4, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    I started taking hrt after a hystorectomy in 1980's. I took depo provera shots for over a year or more. In 3002 I was diagnoised with breast cancer caused by harmones. I was never notified this a danger and now I am or have run out of time. I only found out recently via ad on TV. I need help if there is someone or company of attoneries who can help. Time limit just isn't right.

  • PatriciaApril 19, 2012 at 5:45 am

    I'm also a cancer patient,one of many who took prempro. Is there really any help out there. I have been trying for a long time but with no hope. Please contact me to let me know where I can get some help. Very ill.

  • ozieJanuary 13, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    i am also one of the thousands of people who have filed lawsuits, can you give us some hope? we are sick and we need help, it has been a long time coming and some of us are not in the best of health and our income is very limited

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