Prempro Breast Cancer Lawsuit Results in $72M Verdict

A Philadelphia jury has hit Pfizer with a $72.6 million verdict in a Prempro lawsuit brought by three women who alleged that they developed breast cancer after taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) drugs. In addition to the compensatory damages award, the drug maker could face punitive damages of many times that amount depending on the further deliberations of the jury. 

The verdict was handed down on Tuesday in a Prempro breast cancer lawsuit fled by Susan Elfont, Bernadette Kalenkoski and Judy Mulderig in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

The jury awarded Elfont $20 million; Kalenkoski, $27.85 million; and Mulderig, $24.75 million in compensatory damages. However, the jury still has to decide whether Pfizer should pay punitive damages for willfully disregarding or endangering the safety of the women for profit.

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If the jury finds that punitive damages are necessary, such awards are often many times the amount of the compensatory damages. The jury will likely reach a decision within the next two weeks.

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 Prempro lawsuits 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 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.

In May, Pfizer announced that it was setting aside $772 million to reach settlement on about one-third of those lawsuits.

A number of other 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.


  • MarieDecember 7, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    I contracted breast cancer after taking Prempro from 1991 to 2003. I subsequently was diagnosed with breast cancer and was treated with six weeks of radiation this past June and July of 2011. I would like to be included in the case against Pfizer.

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