Prempro Suit Over Breast Cancer Results in Defense Verdict

A federal jury in Virginia has handed Pfizer a defense verdict in a Prempro breast cancer lawsuit, saying that the plaintiff was properly informed about the potential side effects Prempro, a hormone replacement therapy (HRT). 

The lawsuit was filed by Georgia Torkie-Tork, 65, in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. Following trial, jurors determined that she did not establish that Wyeth failed to adequately warn about the risk of breast cancer, and returned a verdict in favor of the drug maker.

The decision is the fourth jury victory in a row for Pfizer in a Prempro suit over breast cancer. However, the drug maker has suffered several major losses at trial, which have resulted in tens of millions of dollars in compensatory damages and punitive damages after other juries determined that their Wyeth subsidiary attempted to downplay the risks associated with the medication.

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Just days before the defense verdict was issued in the lawsuit filed by Torkie-Tork, the Nevada Supreme Court upheld a $58 million decision in another Prempro hormone replacement therapy lawsuit. In that case, the jury found that it was clear the drug makers knew and tried to suppress information about the risk of breast cancer associated with use of the medication. That award was split between three women who claimed they suffered breast cancer due to Prempro use. Two have died while the cases wound their way through the appeals process.

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 last year. 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 hormone replacement therapy lawsuits currently pending throughout the country.

There are about 9,000 lawsuits over Prempro suits pending against Pfizer’s Wyeth unit. 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.


  • GloriaDecember 7, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    I don't understand why Torkie-Tok had a defense verdict and the Nevada Supreme Court upheld $58 million decision in another Prempro HRT lawsuit, I think if all those women had breast cancer after taking Prempro all of them must have the same verdict.

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