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Lawsuit Over Hormone Drug Forces Wyeth and Pfizer to Pay

By Minara El-Rahman on November 25, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A lawsuit over the hormone drug Prempro manufactured by Wyeth and Pfizer has resulted in a $100 million dollar punitive damages award. Another lawsuit over the same hormone drug also resulted in punitive damages. Both lawsuits were decided in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that there are currently 1,500 of 10,000 similar cases that are pending litigation in Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia Inquirer quoted Pfizer spokesperson Chris Loder as saying: "The company believes that neither the awards of punitive damages nor the liability verdicts were supported by the evidence or the law. The company stands by its belief that its subsidiaries acted responsibly."

Wyeth and Pfizer merged recently. The drug in question, Prempro, was a hormone replacement drug made by Wyeth. Plaintiffs claim that the drug can be linked to breast cancer. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, more than six million women have taken hormone replacement medications in order to combat menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings.

Prempro is a medicine that contains two kinds of hormones: estrogens and a progestin. Prempro is given to postmenopausal women who have not had hysterectomies to: reduce hot flashes; treat vaginal dryness, itching, and burning; and, help reduce chances of getting osteoporosis (thin weak bones). Progestin reduces the risk of endometrial cancer in women.

However, there are major risks to taking the drug such as breast cancer, stroke, heart disease and blood clots. Wyeth has gotten into legal trouble over failure to warn over these health risks in past.

Pfizer says that it planned to challenge both decisions.

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