After a six year struggle with breast cancer, a Reno woman who sued a drug company whose product she blamed for causing her illness, died Sunday at her home.
Carol McCreary, 59, filed a lawsuit against Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, the maker of menopause-treatment drug Prempro, for causing her breast cancer. She was diagnosed in January 2001.
“She just wanted to bring it out, so other women might not suffer the way she did,” her husband Terry McCreary said.
McCreary took Prempro for 33 months. A 2000 mammogram showed negative for breast cancer. She began taking Prempro, a combination of estrogen plus progestin, in 1998.
Results released from a Women’s Health Initiative survey in 2003 revealed a 24 percent increase in the risk of breast cancer for women taking combined estrogen and progestin. The Women’s Health Initiative is a long-term national health study focusing on health issues for older American women.
“She wanted other women to know there are other options,” Terry McCreary said.
Before the case went to trial, McCreary and Wyeth agreed to an out-of-court resolution for an undisclosed amount. An article ran in the Reno Gazette-Journal, where McCreary had worked for 28 years, about her struggle.
“Dozens and dozens of women came to her and said to her ‘Because of you, I have stopped taking these things,’” he said. “The phone rang off the hook for months. People didn’t know.”
In a related case last month, a Philadelphia jury awarded a woman and her husband $3 million in damages and found that Prempro caused her breast cancer, according to Reuters News Service.
Services for McCreary are scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at Mountain View Mortuary, Stoker and Fourth streets in Reno. A celebration of life is scheduled at the McCreary home, 9100 Wigwam Way, in Golden Valley, following the services.
McCreary is survived by her husband, mother, sister, two children and five grandchildren.
“I don’t think we’ve had three arguments in 40 years,” Terry McCreary said. “She’s the finest woman that’s ever lived.”