Last month, we reported on two recent hormone therapy verdicts that were returned by Philadelphia juries against Wyeth (a division of Pfizer). Those verdicts totaled in excess of $103 million and received a lot of attention from the press around the country. Since then, the New York Times ran an extensive piece with electronic links to many of the documents that were considered by the jurors in rendering their decisions. The article is entitled “Menopause, as Brought to You by Big Pharma” and can be found at http://www.hrt-legal.com/.
The Times reports that “the documents offer a snapshot of Wyeth’s efforts. Taken together, they depict a company that over several decades spent tens of millions of dollars on influential physicians, professional medical societies, scientific publications, courses and celebrity ads, inundating doctors and patients with a sea of positive preventive health messages that Plaintiffs’ lawyers say deflected users’ attention from cancer concerns.” Dr. Jerome L. Avorn, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, says the cases demonstrate the importance of litigation in detailing exactly how drug makers operate their businesses as they yield documents that provide a rare glimpse inside the file cabinets and hard drives of a major drug company.
In response to the New York Times article, Pfizer issued a news release affirming confidence in its hormone therapy drugs. Ironically, Pfizer then filed a motion with the Philadelphia court seeking to curtail publicity surrounding these cases. As we go to press, the court has not yet ruled on that motion.
Source: New York Times
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