Wyeth, the drugmaker being acquired by Pfizer Inc., must face a lawsuit by a woman who claims her breast cancer was caused by the menopause medicine Prempro, a Texas appeals court ruled.
The state appeals court in Houston said that Susan Brockert’s “failure-to-warn” claims aren’t preempted by federal drug-labeling regulations, overturning a district judge’s finding from February 2007. The case was sent back to the lower court for further proceedings.
The appeals panel cited last month’s U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding a $7 million award to a musician who lost her arm after being injected with Wyeth’s Phenergan nausea treatment. The high court said patients can sue drugmakers for failing to provide adequate safety warnings, even when a treatment and its packaging are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Wyeth, is the target of about 5,000 lawsuits over its menopause drugs Prempro and Premarin. As many as 6 million women took the hormone-replacement therapies to ease menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes and mood swings, before a 2002 study turned up cancer links.
Wyeth’s main argument for throwing out the case was a preamble added to FDA labeling rules in January 2006, which it said bars patients from suing drugmakers over failure-to-warn claims in state court.
The lower court case is Brockert v. Wyeth, 200349357, Harris County District Court, Houston.
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