Pfizer Breast Cancer Lawsuit
Written by Faith Anderson on April 26, 2012
Pfizer Accused of Marketing Dangerous Drug
Prempro is a combination drug containing Premarin and Provera, which artificially boost hormone levels in women undergoing menopause due to surgery or in post-menopausal women. Known as hormone replacement therapy, the drugs are designed to provide relief from common menopause symptoms like hot flashes, weight gain or irregular menstruation. The Prempro lawsuit was filed by Margaret Fraser against Wyeth, which developed Prempro as an independent company before being absorbed by Pfizer. According to Fraser’s complaint, the company marketed an unreasonably dangerous drug and failed to warn women and medical professionals about the risk of breast cancer from Prempro side effects.
Following the trial, the Connecticut jury not only ordered Pfizer to pay $4 million in damages to compensate Fraser, but also found the drug firm’s actions reprehensible enough to warrant additional punitive damages, which are meant to punish offenders and deter other drug companies from similar conduct. The additional damages will be decided at a later date by a federal judge, but could ring in at several times the compensatory award the jury gave Fraser last week.
Prempro Lawsuits Filed for Breast Cancer Side Effects
With the Fraser decision, 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. Many trials have delivered even larger punitive damages after juries determined that Wyeth intentionally concealed the risk of breast cancer associated with Prempro. Most complaints regarding Prempro side effects were filed after a 2002 study conducted by the National Institutes of Health found that women receiving HRT had an increased risk of breast cancer, heart attacks and strokes. By the time the results of this study were released, more than six million women had used Prempro and other HRT medications. In December, Pfizer announced that it had set aside a total of $840 million to settle nearly half of the 10,000 claims against the company. Pfizer hopes to settle the remaining complaints by setting aside another $260 million in the first nine months of this year.