A Reno, Nevada jury fixed damages for three women who took Prempro and Premarin at $35 million in compensatory damages. The jury also assessed $99 million in punitive damages against the manufacturer of the drugs.
The Plaintiffs asserted that they contracted breast cancer from taking the artificial hormones and the jury agreed.
Company documents indicated that the company knew there was a risk of breast cancer associated with the artificial hormones, but failed to complete studies to evaluate the link.
Prempro, contains the hormones estrogen and progestin. It was first sold in 1995. A study in 2002 found an increased risk of breast cancer after taking Prempro. The study began in 1997, and was supposed to continue for eight years. Early data showed the drug’s adverse effects and the study was terminated three years early. The study found that Prempro increased the risk of breast cancer by 26%, heart attacks by 29% , strokes by 41% and blood clots by 113%.
Wyeth has won two verdicts in Little Rock, Arkansas, while in other parts of the country plaintiffs have been successful only to have verdicts overturned by judges.
For more information on this subject, please refer to the section on Drugs, Medical Devices, and Implants.