Plaintiff Simon Developed Breast Cancer After Using HRT Drugs Prempro, Premarin, And Provera
(Posted by Tom Lamb at DrugInjuryWatch.com)
On May 15, 2007 a Pennsylvania state court jury handed down a mixed verdict in the latest hormone replacement therapy (HRT) products liability case to go to trial, Simon v. Wyeth (040604229, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas), as reported by Jef Feeley and Sophia Pearson in their Bloomberg.com article:
A Pfizer Inc. unit failed to properly warn a New Jersey woman about the cancer risk of its hormone-replacement drug Provera and should pay $1.5 million in damages, jurors said in the first trial over the menopause treatment.
A Philadelphia jury deliberated more than six hours today before finding Pharmacia & Upjohn didn't adequately warn women about Provera's breast cancer risk. Jurors also ruled that Wyeth did properly warn of the risks of its hormone drugs Premarin and Prempro. It was Wyeth's third win in six trials over the drugs.
The Simon trial began on April 17, 2007; Judge Nitza I. Quinones Alejandro presided. The plaintiffs were Merle and Steven Simon. The jury heard testimony that Mrs. Simon started using hormone-replacement therapy (HRT) drugs in 1992, when she took a Premarin-Provera combination, and she switched to Prempro in 1996. Mrs. Simon stopped taking these HRT drugs after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002.
As background, according to the May 15, 2007 Bloomberg.com article:
Until 1996, many menopausal women combined Premarin, which contained estrogen, with Provera, which contains progestin, to relieve their symptoms. In 1996, Wyeth combined the two substances in its Prempro pill.
The Simon case was one of at least 5,000 lawsuits pending against Wyeth over its HRT drugs, including Prempro and Premarin. Pfizer has not disclosed how many Provera lawsuits it has pending.
In a May 15, 2007 press release issued by Pfizer, a representative of the world's largest drug company said that the jury's verdict in the Simon case lacked foundation, and that there would be an appeal filed:
"[T]oday’s verdict is neither supported by the evidence introduced during the trial nor by medical science,” said Sandra Phillips, Pfizer’s senior vice president and associate general counsel. “We believe Pharmacia and Upjohn acted responsibly with respect to Provera and we therefore intend to pursue all the legal options available to us to overturn the verdict.”
Wyeth also issued a press release on May 15, 2007 to announce that the jury hearing the Simon case had found in favor of Wyeth.
Jurors who heard the evidence in two HRT breast cancer cases that went to trial in Philadelphia earlier in 2007, however, had found Wyeth liable. In February 2007 Wyeth was ordered to pay $3 million in damages to an Ohio woman and before that, in January 2007, Wyeth was ordered to pay $1.5 million in damages to an Arkansas woman.
Wyeth has announced it is appealing both of those earlier plaintiff verdicts.