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$142 Million Award from California HRT Class Action to Support Research to Improve Women’s Health

The Beasley Allen Firm is pleased to announce their involvement in an exciting program that will fund cutting-edge research at six prestigious California medical institutions.  Over $142 million in residual funds from a California HRT Class Action settlement have been awarded to Scripps Health – MD Anderson, San Diego, the University of California, Davis, the University of California, San Diego, the University of California, San Francisco, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA Health), and the University of Southern California Keck Medicine. The six medical institutions will use the funds for medical research programs and community health projects that focus on the detection, treatment, prevention, and cure of breast cancer, women’s cardiac issues, Alzheimer’s, and early-onset dementia; with additional emphasis on the care and treatment of such diseases for marginalized and diverse women in California communities that historically lack such care and treatment.

California HRT Class Action Settlement

Beasley Allen attorneys Andy Birchfield, Leigh O’Dell and David Byrne, along with Eileen McGeever and Gary Holt, served as Class Counsel in the long-running case, which alleged that Wyeth, Inc., violated California consumer protection laws by conducting a long-term, systematic and widespread marketing campaign designed to misrepresent the benefits and health risks associated with their hormone replacement therapy (“HRT”) drugs (Premarin, Prempro, and Premphase). Specifically, the Class Representative, April Krueger, asserted that Wyeth’s marketing campaign misrepresented to California consumers that its HRT drugs lowered cardiovascular, Alzheimer’s and/or dementia risk, and did not increase breast cancer risk.

In September 2020, U.S. District Judge John A. Houston (S.D. of Calif.) issued an Order granting final approval of a $200 million-dollar settlement that provided refunds to qualifying Class members who purchased Wyeth’s HRT drugs between January 1995 and January 2003.  The Court’s Order also provided that any excess California HRT class action settlement funds would be distributed to major California medical institutions specializing in the detection, treatment, prevention, and cure of breast cancer, women’s cardiac issues, Alzheimer’s, and early-onset dementia.

Women’s Health Funding

Following the Court’s final approval Order, Beasley Allen solicited research proposals from a number of California medical institutions and interviewed key research scientists involved in the individual projects.  Additionally, Beasley Allen helped develop the concept of an Annual Conference, that will allow funded faculty, researchers, and project leaders to meet in a collaborative fashion, discuss the results of their work, and share ideas to advance the study, treatment, and cure for breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and cardiovascular disease in women. Both the Court and the medical institutions enthusiastically supported this novel idea and over the next 6-years (beginning in the first quarter of 2022), each institution will host the conference on a rotating basis.

California Medical Institution Research Awards

  • Scripps Health San Diego’s $22,127,500 award will be used to fund research targeting breast cancer, heart disease, and dementia treatments; as well as community health programs designed to treat and educate marginalized communities in and around San Diego County.
  • The University of California, Davis will use its $24,000,000 award to create unique research and care initiatives in breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, and early-onset dementia – all within one of the most geographically broad and ethnically diverse populations in California.
  • The University of California, San Diego, will apply its $24,000,000 distribution to fund groundbreaking research aimed at the prevention, detection and treatment of breast cancer, cardiovascular disease and neurological disorders in women.
  • The University of California, San Francisco’s $24,000,000 award will help create numerous interlinked research and community health projects related to overuse, misuse and unequal use of health care related to the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, cardiac disease and dementia.
  • UCLA Health’s $23,999,510 distribution will provide important care to underserved communities across Los Angeles County and fund critical research in the areas of breast cancer, cardiovascular disease in women, and neuroscience.
  • The University of Southern California Keck Medicine’s $23,999,487 award will fund a number of exciting projects designed to advance the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and cure of Alzheimer’s disease, breast cancer and cardiovascular disease in women, with particular emphasis on mitigating the impact of these devastating conditions for women from disadvantaged communities with major health disparities.

“We are delighted to partner with these six prestigious California medical institutions, particularly given their longtime commitment to women’s health research and care for underserved communities, “said Beasley Allen attorney and Class co-counsel, David Byrne. “The funding provided by this important consumer-protection case, will benefit the health and well-being of our Class members and all California women – possibly for generations to come”, said Byrne.

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