HRT :: Wyeth loses second hormone therapy drug case

Philadelphia Jury returns verdict that Wyeth’s hormone replacement therapy caused breast cancer and awards $3 million to Ohio woman and her husband.

A state court jury in Philadelphia today found that Wyeth (NYSE: WYE) provided inadequate warnings on its drug Prempro and that the Hormone Therapy drug caused invasive breast cancer in Jennie Nelson, a 67 year old Ohio woman. The jury of nine awarded damages to Mrs. Nelson of $2.4 million and an additional $600,000 to her husband. This is the third time in which a Philadelphia state court jury found that Wyeth’s Hormone Therapy drugs caused a woman’s breast cancer.

“We are very grateful to the members of the jury who carefully considered the facts in Mrs. Nelson’s case. We also find it especially rewarding that two separate juries have believed in the merits of the case and found for Mrs. Nelson,” said Tobias Millrood of the law firm Schiffrin Barroway Topaz & Kessler, co-counsel for Jennie Nelson. “Both times this case has been heard on terms established by Wyeth and still the juries have clearly found that Prempro causes breast cancer.”

In 2001, Mrs. Nelson underwent a double mastectomy and chemotherapy and radiation and today remains on anti-hormonal medication. Mrs. Nelson’s case was originally heard by a jury in the fall of 2006 and on October 4, 2006 the jury found in the first phase of the trial that her use of Wyeth’s postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy drug Prempro was a cause of her invasive lobular breast cancer. In October 2006, the jury awarded Mrs. Nelson $1.5 million in compensatory damages, on the Phase I verdict. A mistrial was later granted on the basis of juror ineligibility based on a motion by Wyeth.

“Jennie Nelson and her husband Lawrence are very courageous people, waging a brave fight and representing the thousands and thousands of women suffering from breast cancer as a result of Wyeth’s hormone therapy drugs,” continued Millrood. “The evidence presented at trial revealed that Wyeth has known for decades that postmenopausal hormone therapy causes breast cancer but that Wyeth chose to avoid testing this dangerous hormone combination and delayed stronger warnings for fear of flagging sales. We hope that this verdict sends a clear message to Wyeth that these courageous women are fighters.”

The retrial began on January 11, 2007 in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. The case, which lasted four and a half weeks, was heard by Judge Ricardo C. Jackson.