Justice Uphold $11 Million Verdict for Prempro Plaintiffs

Prempro lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm confirm that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently rejected Wyeth Pharmaceutical’s attempt to appeal an $11.3 million jury verdict concerning its menopause drug Prempro. The plaintiff in this case alleged that the drug caused her to develop breast cancer.

The case initially concluded in January 2010, when the three-judge Pennsylvania Superior Court panel ruled that Wyeth systemically ignored indications that its popular menopause drugs, Prempro and Provera, were associated with breast cancer. The plaintiff, Connie Barton, provided substantial evidence proving that Wyeth ignored and even blatantly stifled studies suggesting this link and then failed to consider the potential association further.

Additionally, Barton also alleged that Wyeth consciously discouraged other researchers and medical scientists from pushing the matter. In its opinion, the PA justices called Wyeth’s conduct over Prempro and Provera “reprehensible,” and that the $11.3 million in damages was “fully merited.” They felt that amount would sufficiently deter pharmaceutical companies from engaging in similarly fraudulent, dangerous conduct.

A similar verdict was recently decided against Wyeth, concluding in July 2012 and resulting in a $10.4 million verdict for the plaintiff, Audrey Singleton. The woman also argued that Wyeth knowingly concealed Prempro’s health risks to patients and physicians. As of this 2012 case, Wyeth had already paid nearly $900 million to resolve Prempro and Provera lawsuits, setting aside another $330 million for future suits.

Singleton began taking Prempro in 1997, at which time her mammogram results were normal. By January 2004, she had developed breast cancer, stopped taking the drug, and sued Wyeth. A jury awarded her damages in 2010, which the Pennsylvania court upheld in 2012 after appeal attempts from Wyeth.

Prior to 2002, over 6 million women were taking Prempro and Provera to treat symptoms of menopause, without any indication that it could lead to serious and fatal cancer development. Inexplicably, the drugs are still on the market despite numerous studies highlighting and confirming this risk. Both drugs use synthetic estrogen as a main ingredient; it is commonly known that developing breast cancer involves genetic factors and the individual’s lifetime exposure to estrogen.

According to the National Cancer Institute, the breast and the uterus are two of estrogen hormones’ main targets, binding with estrogen receptors in those tissues. In large or prolonged doses, estrogen can build up and promote proliferation of mutated cells in the breasts or uterus, leading to the onset of cancer.

A recent conducted at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that women who received Depo-Provera, an injectable contraceptive, had over double the risk of developing breast cancer compared to women who never received Depo-Provera. Other contributing factors, such as family history, age and obesity, did not make a difference in risk.

The main ingredient of Depo-Provera, progestin, is the same active ingredient in Prempro. One study found that Prempro patients had a 24% increased risk of developing breast cancer, while another menopause drug, Premarin, which does not use progestin, showed no increased risk. That landmark Prempro study was sponsored by the federal government and called the Women’s Health Initiative.

By 2012, only about half of over 10,000 lawsuits over Prempro and Provera were resolved. Many of these patients were prescribed these drugs for uses not indicated by the FDA, which approved them only to treat symptoms of menopause. Instead, Wyeth marketed the drugs to physicians to prevent colorectal cancer and cardiovascular disease, which was not only negligent but illegal as well.

Prempro attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm have over two decades of experience working with injured patients and pursuing cases against pharmaceutical companies on their behalf. If you or a loved one developed breast cancer after taking Prempro or Provera, you have important legal rights, and may be entitled to millions in compensation. Our skilled pharmaceutical attorneys offer free, no-obligation legal consultations to potential clients nationwide.

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