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Wyeth's Menopause Drugs On Trial

Wyeth Laboratories, makers of Prempro and Premarin, has been in the news lately as lawsuits unfolded accusing Wyeth’s Prempro of causing breast cancer in women.

Prempro and Premarin are Wyeth’s synthetic menopause drugs.

Two significant jury verdicts have been returned so far, both losses for the drug company

1) A jury awarded an Arkansas woman $1.5 million in damages, finding that Prempro caused her breast cancer. The jury found that Wyeth’s conduct was “malicious, wanton, willful or oppressive or showed reckless indifference to the interest of others.” The judge allowed the jury to render a verdict on punitive damages which was kept under seal in the event the Arkansas woman is entitled to them in the future through an appeals process. The punitive damage amount has not been publicly announced to date

IMPORTANT FACT: The Arkansas woman took the drug, Prempro, for only 16 months! She began the drug in December, 1999 and was diagnosed with breast cancer in July, 2001. The woman underwent two surgeries as well as chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

The jurors found that the Prempro was a “factual cause” of the woman’s cancer. The jurors also determined that Wyeth had failed to provide proper warnings about the drug’s cancer risk.

2) A jury awarded a 66-year-old Ohio woman $1.5 million in damages, finding that Wyeth’s Prempro hormone therapy drug was a significant cause of her breast cancer. The jury voted 7to 1 that her use of Prempro was a “factual cause” of her breast cancer. She had taken Prempro since 1996 for menopausal symptoms and was diagnosed with breast cancer n 2001. She had previously taken Premarin, another Wyeth drug, in 1995. The woman had both of her breasts removed, underwent chemotherapy and also had radiation therapy to treat the cancer. A judge declared a mistrial and the case was retried. At the second trial, the Ohio woman was awarded $3 million in damages. The second jury blasted the drug maker for failing to warn her about the breast-cancer risks of Prempro

3) A Reno, Nevada woman who was dying of breast cancer reached an out-of-court settlement with Wyeth in October, 2006. The woman claimed that Prempro caused her breast cancer. The settlement amount was kept confidential.

4) Some published numbers declare that these lawsuits are part of 5,000 suits against Wyeth over its hormone replacement drugs. The drugs been linked to an increase in cancer by a study released in 2002. The suits charge that Wyeth was negligent in testing, manufacturing and marketing their synthetic hormone replacement drugs.

5) Plaintiffs’ attorneys say that cases involving at least 10,000 people have been filed nationwide in federal and state courts.

These drugs are still on the market, although sales have dropped from $2.1 billion in 2001 to $909 million in 2006 as frightened women are refusing to continue to take Premarin and Prempro.

Please ask your doctor about natural alternatives!