Skip to main content

Court overturns ruling on damages in homone therapy case


MADISON, N.J. A federal court has overturned a decision to require Wyeth and Upjohn to pay respective punitive damages of $19.36 million and $7.76 million to a Little Rock, Ark., woman who allegedly developed breast cancer after using the two companies’ hormone therapies, Wyeth confirmed Wednesday.

A federal jury in Little Rock, Ark., had ordered the companies to pay the punitive damages and compensatory damages of $2.75 million to a 67-year-old Little Rock woman in February after deciding that Wyeth did not provide adequate warning that its drugs Premarin and Prempro could increase patients’ risk of developing breast cancer. The lawsuit also involved Upjohn’s Provera (gen).

U.S. District Judge Bill Wilson overturned the jury’s decision Tuesday. He wrote that testimony from expert witness for the plaintiff Dr. Suzanne Parisian, a former Food and Drug Administration official, failed to offer proper testimony, and as such should not have been allowed.

As of Dec. 31, Wyeth was defending about 5,400 actions in federal and state courts by almost 8,000 women who alleged that use of Premarin (conjugated estrogens tablets USP) and Prempro (conjugated estrogens and medroxyprogesterone acetate tablets) had led to breast and ovarian cancers, heart disease and stroke, according to Wyeth’s 2007 annual report.

Spokesmen for both companies said they would appeal the initial liability decision.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds