Last Thursday a jury ordered Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and Upjohn to shell out over $27 million in compensation to an Arkansas woman who developed breast cancer after taking hormone replacement therapy. The jury ruled in favor of Donna Scroggin citing that the companies failed to provide adequate warnings of the drugs Premarin and Prempro. The jury decided that Scroggin should receive $19.3 million from Wyeth and $7.7 million from Upjohn in punitive damages.
Lawsuits against Wyeth have had mixed results. A Little Rock woman, Helene Rush, lost her case against Wyeth last year and a federal appeals court upheld the decision in February. A federal jury in Little Rock also ruled for Wyeth in 2006 in the first in a series of lawsuits against the New Jersey drugmaker.
An Ohio woman was initially awarded $3 million in a case in Pennsylvania, though a judge later overturned the award. In Reno, Nev., last year, jurors awarded $134 million to three Nevada women who sued over the hormone therapy. But a judge in February cut that amount to about $58 million total – $23 million in compensatory and $35 million in punitive damages.
Every case involves that drugs Premarin and Prempro which are commonly used by hundreds of thousands of women to combat symptoms of menopause. The drugs remain on the market despite concerns about a possible breast cancer link.