Jury Awards $72 Million to Women Who Developed Breast Cancer After Taking Prempro

By December 16, 2011Jury Verdicts

The menopause drug Prempro is a major area of interest right now for pharmaceutical liability attorneys like me. Prempro was prescribed widely about a decade ago for symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, but fell out of favor in 2002 after studies connected it to an increased risk of cancer. Since then, manufacturer Pfizer has faced numerous lawsuits alleging that the drug is responsible for their new breast cancer diagnoses. One of these, in Pennsylvania state court, ended with a victory for three women, according to Bloomberg News. Susan Elfont, Bernadette Kalenkoski and Judy Mulderig received a verdict totaling $72 million in their Prempro cancer lawsuit. This is the tenth loss of 18 Prempro lawsuits that have gone to trial, the article said.
All three women are in their late sixties, and none had a family history of breast cancer before being diagnosed. Kalenkoski, a former nursing home aide, took Prempro for more than four years; the others took a combination of the prescription drugs Premarin and Provera, which were combined in Prempro starting in 1995. In all three cases, experts testified that their use of the drugs was likely the reason for the cancer. The initial cancer finding came from a long-term FDA study of 16,000 women taking either Prempro or a placebo. The study was stopped in 2002 after researchers found a much greater rate of breast cancer, stroke and heart attacks in the Prempro patients. The finding halved the number of American women on hormone replacement therapy and led the FDA to require its strictest warning label starting in 2003. A follow-up study in 2010 found that Prempro patients were twice as likely to die.
As a dangerous drug lawyer, I’m pleased to hear that these patients have won their lawsuit. The article mentions that Pfizer has put aside $772 million to settle or try Prempro cancer lawsuits, so it is clearly expecting many more. That’s good, because at the height of the drug’s popularity, six million American women were taking it. Though not all of those patients will be diagnosed with Prempro-related breast cancer, even a fraction of those six million could add up to many thousands who would have the right to seek fair compensation from Pfizer. To make matters worse, there is some evidence that the company’s Wyeth division tried to plant shoddy research in medical journals to downplay the bad results. Suppressing or downplaying negative research may protect profits, but it can put thousands of patients at risk.
At Carey, Danis & Lowe, we represent clients who suffered serious injuries or lost a family member because they took a prescription drug they thought they could trust. Just like all manufacturers, the makers of prescription medications have a legal responsibility to make sure their products are safe to use as directed and carry adequate warnings to patients. When they fail to do this, they are legally liable for any injuries suffered by patients. That includes the loss of a loved one to an avoidable cancer diagnosis or other serious illnesses. Our defective drug attorneys help clients across the United States claim financial damages, including money for all of their medical costs, lost wages and other financial expenses and compensation for their pain, suffering and emotional losses.


If you believe an unsafe prescription drug was responsible for your family’s injuries or illness and you’d like to learn more about your rights, call Carey, Danis & Lowe today for a free consultation. You can reach us through the Internet or call 1-877-678-3400.
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Jury in Prempro Trial Awards Illinois Woman $6.3 Million for Link to Breast Cancer
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