In the trial of the latest Nevada state court hormone therapy case, the jury found against Wyeth on all of plaintiffs’ claims and returned a verdict ordering Wyeth to pay a total of $35 million in compensatory damages and $99 million in punitive damages.
The jury found that Wyeth was negligent, Premarin and Prempro were defective, Wyeth concealed material facts about these products, and Wyeth acted with malice or fraud. The punitive damages award came in the second phase of the trial. The jury had found Wyeth’s conduct to be “reprehensible,” which led to the second phase of the trial and the awarding of punitive damages.
The three women alleged that the use of Premarin and Prempro had contributed to the development of their breast cancer, Wyeth had failed to properly warn about and concealed the risks of the drugs and Wyeth had sold a defective product.
During the trial, Wyeth argued that each of the women had other risk factors that contributed to the development of their cancer and that it provided adequate warnings. Wyeth also contended the company clearly warned users that there was a slightly increased risk of breast cancer from taking Prempro, which was first marketed in 1995.
This is the seventh hormone therapy case to go to a jury. The verdict is the largest award to date against the Madison, New Jersey-based company.
These drugs are prescribed to women to ease symptoms of menopause.
Sources: Wall Street Journal; New York Times