Prempro HRT Lawsuit Award of $10.1M Upheld on Appeal

A Pennsylvania appeals court has upheld a jury award of more than $10 million in a Prempro breast cancer lawsuit, reversing a lower court’s ruling that overturned the award of compensatory and punitive damages in the case.

The hormone replacement therapy (HRT) lawsuit was originally won in 2007 by Mary Daniel, who claimed that Prempro treatments caused her to develop breast cancer. That ruling was overturned by the trial judge, who threw out the award and ordered a new trial due to the testimony of one of the expert witnesses offered by the plaintiffs.

Daniel appealed the decision and on Monday the Superior Court of Pennslyvania agreed with her, reinstating the original verdict and determining that a new trial was not necessary. The appellate ruling has resulted in Pfizer, Inc. being ordered to pay a $1.5 million compensatory award and an additional $8.6 million in punitive damages.  

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Prempro is a hormone replacement therapy (HRT) that contains a combination of the drugs Provera and Premarin. The drug was originally developed by Wyeth, which was acquired by Pfizer in 2009.

HRTs use 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 Prempro HRT lawsuits currently pending throughout the country.

There are now about 9,000 lawsuits over breast cancer from Prempro pending against Pfizer’s Wyeth unit by women who claim that they developed breast cancer from the medication. All of the lawsuits claim that the drug caused plaintiffs to develop breast cancer, and that Wyeth failed to warn patients and doctors of the potential side effects of the hormone therapy.

Pfizer has lost a number of Prempro lawsuits that reached the appeals level in recent months. In late November the Nevada Supreme Court upheld a $58 million Prempro verdict, with the court declaring that it was clear that Pfizer’s Wyeth unit knew about the links between HRT and breast cancer and tried to suppress that information.

In October, a U.S. Supreme Court decision cleared the way for 100 HRT lawsuits in Minnesota to move forward, and another appellate ruling in Pennsylvania in late summer reinstated 14 breast cancer lawsuits against Pfizer and Pharmacia that had been thrown out.

According to a report by Bloomberg News, Pfizer officials say they are weighing their legal options in regard to this latest decision.


  • delomaFebruary 20, 2011 at 4:02 am


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