Two Pfizer Inc. units’ hormone- replacement therapy drugs caused an Illinois woman’s breast cancer, making them liable for at least $6.3 million in damages, a Philadelphia jury ruled.
Jurors found that the combination of Wyeth’s Prempro and Pharmacia & Upjohn’s Provera menopause drugs was a substantial contributing factor in Donna Kendall’s breast cancer. Kendall, 66, had a double mastectomy in 2002 after taking the hormone-replacement drugs for 11 years.
The panel will hear evidence Nov. 23 on whether Wyeth and Upjohn should pay punitive damages over their handling of the drugs. Wyeth has lost six of nine jury verdicts, including the last four in a row, over the drugs since 2006. This is Upjohn’s third loss at the jury stage. A trial judge threw out one verdict and another is on appeal.
More than 6 million women have taken hormone-replacement medicines to treat menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings. Until 1995, many patients combined Premarin, Wyeth’s estrogen-based drug, with progestin-laden Provera, made by Upjohn.
Annual sales of Wyeth’s hormone-replacement drugs topped $2 billion before the 2002 Women’s Health Initiative study, sponsored by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, suggested women using the medicines had a higher breast-cancer risk.
In Kendall’s case, jurors concluded Wyeth and Upjohn officials failed to adequately warn Kendall’s doctors about the drugs’ cancer risks and that failure played a role in the physicians’ decision to prescribe the drugs.
The panel also found Wyeth’s and Upjohn’s conduct in marketing and selling the drugs was hiding health risks was “wanton and reckless.” That makes the companies open to a punitive-damage award under Pennsylvania law.
“An adequate warning would have made a difference,” The companies “had a reckless indifference to women in this country and a reckless indifference to Donna Kendall.”
At least 34 Prempro cases have been set for trial so far, and 19 have been thrown out by judges or withdrawn by plaintiffs, according to Pfizer officials. Wyeth also has settled at least five cases over the drugs.
The case is Kendall v. Wyeth Pharmaceuticals Inc., 040600965, Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania.
If you or a family member has been personally injured because of the fault of someone else: by the use of dangerous and defective drugs, bad products, or toxic injury etc then please contact the Fort Worth Texas Defective Drugs Product Liability Attorney Dr. Shezad Malik. For a no obligation, free case analysis, please call 817-255-4001 or Contact Me Online.