A federal jury in Salt Lake City, Utah awarded $5.1 million to plaintiff Toshiko Okuda in a Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) case after hearing four weeks of testimony regarding the link between hormone replacement drugs and breast cancer. The jury determined that the HRT drug Prempro, manufactured by Wyeth, caused the plaintiff’s’ breast cancer and that the drug makers failed to adequately warn of that risk on labels provided to doctors and patients. Frank Woodson, Russ Abney, Matt Teague and James Lampkin of Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., of Montgomery, Ala., represented Ms. Okuda, with James Esparza of James Esparza Law Firm in Murray, Utah.
Hormone Replacement Therapy, including drugs such as Premarin, Prempro and Provera, was prescribed to treat the symptoms of menopause until 2002, when a comprehensive women’s health study was halted as a result of increasing incidents of breast cancer. The drugs also were promoted for off-label uses, including prevention of cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
“The evidence in this case is obviously the drug makers knew of the risk of breast cancer associated with these drugs, but they did nothing to warn thousands of women who were taking the drugs, or the doctors who were prescribing them,” Beasley Allen Shareholder Frank Woodson said.
Ms. Okuda filed her lawsuit in 2004. She underwent a hysterectomy in 1985 at age 47 and, because of severe menopausal symptoms, took estrogen for three years and then Prempro, a combination of estrogen and progesterone, for 14 years. In 2002, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and is a survivor after treatment.