A jury has ruled that Pfizer Inc. must pay $1.5 million in damages to a pharmacist who developed breast cancer after taking one of the company’s menopause drugs. Jurors in federal court in San Juan, Puerto Rico, found that Pfizer’s Wyeth subsidiary failed to properly warn Helen Rivera-Adams and her doctors about the health risks of its Prempro menopause medicine. Ms. Rivera-Adams, suffering from the late stages of cancer, wanted a trial so she could “get the message out that this drug is dangerous.”
Until 1995, many menopausal women combined Premarin, Wyeth’s estrogen-based drug, with progestin-laden Provera, made by Pfizer’s Upjohn unit, to relieve their symptoms. Wyeth combined the two hormones in its Prempro pill. Pfizer, the world’s largest drugmaker, completed its $68 billion purchase of Wyeth last year. Pfizer’s Wyeth and Upjohn units have now lost eight of the 15 Prempro cases decided by juries since trials began in 2006. The drugmaker got some of those verdicts thrown out after trial or had the awards reduced. It resolved some of the verdicts through settlements, while other decisions are on appeal.
The Plaintiff, a 62-year-old a pharmacist in San Juan, owns her own drugstore. Jurors found Prempro helped cause the woman’s cancer and that Wyeth officials didn’t provide adequate warnings about the drug’s cancer risks to her or her doctors. Ms. Rivera-Adams took Prempro for 19 months before being diagnosed with cancer in January 2002. Michael Robb, a lawyer with Clark, Robb, Mason, Coulombe & Buschman, with offices in several Florida cities, including Miami, was the lead lawyer for Ms. Rivera-Adams, and he did a very good job.
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