Prempro Trial Ends in $4M Compensatory Damage Award, Plus Punatives
A Connecticut jury has ordered Pfizer to pay $4 million in compensatory damages to a woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer after taking the hormone replacement therapy (HRT) medication Prempro, and the drug maker will also be hit with additional punitive damages by the judge as a result of the actions of their Wyeth subsidiary.
The Prempro lawsuit was brought by Margaret Fraser against Wyeth, which developed Prempro as an independent company before being absorbed by Pfizer. Fraser accused the company of marketing an unreasonably dangerous drug and failing to warn women and doctors about the risk of breast cancer from Prempro side effects.
Following trial, the jury not only ordered Pfizer to pay $4 million in damages to compensate Fraser, but also found the company’s actions to be reprehensible enough to qualify for additional punitive damages, which are meant to punish and deter other pharmaceutical companies from similar conduct. Those damages will be decided later by a federal judge, but could be several times larger than the compensatory award the jury gave Fraser last week.
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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.
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.
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.
Pfizer has now lost 11 of the 20 Prempro cases that have gone before a jury, with several trials resulting in multi-million dollar compensatory awards and even larger punitive damage awards after juries determined that Wyeth intentionally hid the risk of breast cancer from Prempro.
In December, 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.
RondaMarch 26, 2020 at 1:24 am
RAM where my comments in 2012; it's obviously been a while, but everytime I try looking thru my glasses and think about prempro it makes my blood boil... I used to be able to read without my glasses... That's almost impossible now
BobbieMay 1, 2012 at 3:15 pm
I think 10 years is more than enough time for Pfizer to have settled just ther breast cancer lawsuits. What about all the other cancers that are a result of prempro?
RAMApril 25, 2012 at 1:45 pm
In 2010, I went for an eye exam because I was having difficulty seeing clearly out of my left eye. As a result, I’ve had 2 eye doctors – in 2 separate States – advise that I stop taking Prempro as it has been shown to be a factor in the cause of Branch Retinal Vein Occulsion. One doctor wanted to give me a shot in my eye; the other advised a laser treatment. In the end, both decided to wait to see[Show More]In 2010, I went for an eye exam because I was having difficulty seeing clearly out of my left eye. As a result, I’ve had 2 eye doctors – in 2 separate States – advise that I stop taking Prempro as it has been shown to be a factor in the cause of Branch Retinal Vein Occulsion. One doctor wanted to give me a shot in my eye; the other advised a laser treatment. In the end, both decided to wait to see if the condition cleared on its own – it has not. I was prescribed a very expensive eye drop to help reduce swelling in the vein. Some days are better than others, but today I’m a blurry mess – like trying to see the world thru a glass of water
JerryApril 24, 2012 at 5:07 pm
I just did the math. I think Pfizer has vastly underestimated the amoun to settle 5000 thousand claims, Am I wrong?
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