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Pfizer Must Pay $72M In Latest Prempro Case

by Ed Silverman

Two months after coming off a significant victory in the sprawling Prempro litigation, Pfizer has now lost another case and was ordered by a Pennsylvania state court jury to pay $72.6 million in damages to three women who claimed that they developed breast cancer after taking the widely used menopause treatment and two related meds.

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At issue was whether Pfizer – or more specifically, its Wyeth and Upjohn subsidiaries that were acquired over the past decade – provided adequate warnings of the risk of breast cancer. In reaching its decision, the jury decided to award $20 million in compensatory damages, $27.9 million to Bernadette Kalenkoski, and nearly $25 million to Judy Mulderig, Bloomberg News reports.

Two months ago, though, a New Jersey appeals court ruled that Pfizer cannot be sued by two women who argued that the drugmaker’s hormone replacement therapies caused their breast cancer. In reaching its decision, the all-female appeals panel concluded there was no evidence the drugmaker misled doctors or patients about the risks associated with Premarin, Prempro and Provera. The ruling cast a cloud over the fate of other Prempro lawsuits.

So far, Pfizer has lost 10 of the 18 cases that were decided by juries since trials began five years ago. However, Pfizer has succeeded in having some verdicts tossed after a trial or had awards reduced. Others were settled and some are on appeal. Pfizer also won dismissals of more than 3,000 cases before those went to trial. The drugmaker has set aside $772 million to cover settlements and costs.

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