Punitive Damage Trial in Prempro Suit to Proceed After Appeal Rejected

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by Pfizer that sought to overturn a $2.7 million award for damages in a 2008 Prempro breast cancer lawsuit

The complaint was brought by Donna Scroggin, who established at an earlier trial that side effects of the hormone replacement therapy Prempro caused her to develop breast cancer. She was awarded $2.7 million in compensatory damages and $27 million in punitive damages against Wyeth and Upjohn, which are now both owned by Pfizer. Late last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals in St. Louis overturned the punitive damages award and called for a new trial, but left the $2.7 million compensatory award in place.

In a short order issued this week, the Supreme Court rejected Pfizer’s further appeal of that decision, meaning that a new punitive damage Prempro trial will move forward. The jury will not reconsider the liability or compensatory damage award, but will only decide whether punitive damages should be awarded as a result of the drug makers failure to conduct adequate studies and warn about the risk of breast cancer from Prempro.

Did You Know?

Millions of Philips CPAP Machines Recalled

Philips DreamStation, CPAP and BiPAP machines sold in recent years may pose a risk of cancer, lung damage and other injuries.

Learn More

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 Scroggin’s case, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the compensatory damages award and agreed that there was sufficient evidence presented at trial to warrant submitting the question of punitive damages to the jury. However, as a result of procedural problems with some of the evidence presented during the punitive damages phase, the appeals court ordered that the $27 million punitive damage portion of the award must be tossed, and ordered a new trial to determine whether such damages are warranted and the amount.

Scroggin’s Prempro suit is one of about 9,000 pending against Pfizer’s Wyeth unit by women who claim that they developed breast cancer from the hormone replacement therapy. The cases allege that the drug maker intentionally hid the risk of breast cancer from women. Wyeth has lost five of the last six HRT lawsuits that have gone to trial, resulting in tens of millions of dollars in compensatory and punitive damages. The punitive damages have been awarded by juries who saw Wyeth’s behavior as reckless disregard for the risk of injury to consumers.


  • CathyJuly 29, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    I took Prempro for a number of years and was diagnosed with breast cancer in Fall 2008. I had a lumpectomy and afterwards radiation for 6 weeks.

"*" indicates required fields

Share Your Comments

I authorize the above comments be posted on this page*

Have Your Comments Reviewed by a Lawyer

Provide additional contact information if you want an attorney to review your comments and contact you about a potential case. This information will not be published.

NOTE: Providing information for review by an attorney does not form an attorney-client relationship.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

More Top Stories

Bard Argues Hernia Mesh Lawsuits Previously Selected for Bellwether Trials Are No Longer
Bard Argues Hernia Mesh Lawsuits Previously Selected for Bellwether Trials Are No Longer "Representative" (Posted yesterday)

Bard claims two cases selected for the third and fourth bellwether trials are no longer representative of the litigation due to the plaintiffs' worsening injuries and need for additional surgeries due to their failed hernia mesh products.