Over the last year or so, drug manufacturer Pfizer has decided to file numerous motions in the thousands of cases that remain challenging the Plaintiffs’ ability to prove that its drugs, Premarin, Provera, and Prempro, caused breast cancer. Recently, one such challenge was defeated when MDL Judge Billy Roy Wilson ruled that women who have human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) are nevertheless able to show that Pfizer’s drugs can cause breast cancer. Pfizer claimed that HER2 is a cancer causing oncogene. Interestingly, juries had already ruled against Pfizer on this issue, but Pfizer seems bent on raising every possible legal challenge in every possible venue in an attempt to shift the blame in these cases. Thankfully, Judge Wilson saw through this and has now paved the way for many of the remaining thousands of cases to proceed toward trial.
On the trial front, a Connecticut federal jury awarded Margaret Fraser and her husband $4 million in compensatory damages on April 18th. The jurors found that the hormone replacement therapy drug Prempro caused the Mrs. Fraser’s breast cancer. The jury also found that punitive damages should be awarded to the Plaintiffs. The punitive damages will be determined by the trial judge and, under Connecticut law, could reach as high as twice the compensatory award. The jury found that the Plaintiffs proved by a preponderance of evidence that:
• Margaret Fraser’s use of Prempro was a legal cause of her breast cancer;
• Defendant Wyeth failed to provide adequate warnings to the prescribing physician about the known or knowable risk of breast cancer associated with Prempro;
• if Wyeth warned the doctor, Margaret Fraser would not have taken Prempro;
• Prempro was an unreasonably dangerous product;
• Wyeth was negligent in testing, studying and investigating the risks of Prempro; and
• Wyeth negligently misrepresented the risks and benefits of Prempro to the prescribing doctor.
Margaret Fraser says she took Prempro hormone replacement therapy between 1995 and 2001, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent a lumpectomy followed by chemotherapy and is now cancer-free.
In 2004, the Frasers sued Prempro manufacturer Wyeth in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. The case was transferred into the Prempro multidistrict litigation in the Eastern District of Arkansas before being remanded to the District of Connecticut in 2010. The Frasers are represented by Greg Bubalo, Paula Bliss, and Steve Rotman, all of whom are with the firm of Bubalo Rotman in Lexington, Ky., and Neal Moskow of Ury & Moskow in Fairfield, Conn. Wyeth has been represented by about 21 lawyers in this case. The lawyers representing the Frasers have done a very good job in this case and are to be commended for their willingness to take on cases of this sort on behalf of women who are victims.
If you need additional information on the hormone therapy litigation, contact Ted Meadows, a lawyer in our Mass Torts Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Ted.Meadows@beasleyallen.com.
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