A Philadelphia jury has decided that Pfizer Inc. must pay $72.6 million in damages to three women who developed breast cancer after taking the company’s menopause drugs.
Jurors deliberated over two days before finding today that hormone-replacement drugs made by Pfizer’s Wyeth and Pharmacia Upjohn units were responsible for cancer in Susan Elfont, Bernadette Kalenkoski and Judy Mulderig, Bloomberg reported. The panel awarded Elfont $20 million; Kalenkoski, $27.85 million; and Mulderig, $24.75 million.
More than 6 million women took Prempro and related menopause drugs to treat symptoms such as hot flashes and mood swings before a 2002 study highlighted their links to cancer, the news service reported.
Wyeth’s sales of the medicines, which are still on the market, topped $2 billion before the release of the Women’s Health Initiative, a National Institutes of Health-sponsored study.
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 announced in May it had settled a third of the pending Prempro cases filed against it and had set aside $772 million to help resolve the claims.
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