Quoted from http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-11-16/pfizer-unit-downplayed-prempro-s-risks-lawyer-says-update1-.htm
Pfizer Unit Downplayed Prempro’s Risks, Lawyer Says
By Jef Feeley - Nov 16, 2010 6:55 PM ET
Pfizer Inc.’s Wyeth unit downplayed the risks that its Prempro menopause drug could cause breast cancer, a lawyer for a Virginia woman who developed the disease told jurors.
Executives at Wyeth intentionally ignored researchers’ findings that the company’s hormone-replacement drugs might put women like Georgia Torkie-Tork at risk for the disease, Zoe Littlepage, one of her lawyers, told a federal court jury today in Alexandria, Virginia. The company also included ambiguous references to Prempro’s breast-cancer risks on the drug’s warning label, Littlepage said.
Wyeth’s scientists “never did a breast cancer study” on Prempro even though outside studies repeatedly uncovered “safety signals about the drug,” Littlepage said in opening statements.
More than 6 million women took the menopause drugs to treat symptoms such as hot flashes and mood swings before a 2002 study highlighted their links to cancer. Wyeth’s sales of the medicines, which are still on the market, topped $2 billion before the Women’s Health Initiative, a National Institutes of Health-sponsored study, concluded that they posed an increased risk of cancer.
Until 1995, many menopausal women combined Premarin, Wyeth’s estrogen-based drug, with Upjohn’s progestin-laden Provera, to relieve their symptoms. Wyeth later combined the two hormones in its Prempro pill.