A Philadelphia, Pa., jury awarded $72.6 million to three plaintiffs in a Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) case after hearing three weeks of testimony regarding the link between hormone replacement drugs and breast cancer.
The jury determined that the HRT drugs, Premarin, Provera and Prempro caused the plaintiffs’ breast cancer and set the value of actual compensatory damages in the case against Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. The verdict was delivered in a reverse-bifurcated trial. This type trial procedure is one in which the jury first determines causation and damages before determining liability. The liability phase of the trial, which was to determine if punitive damages are due, was set to proceed today, but Wyeth agreed to settle the case yesterday.
Ted G. Meadows of Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., of Montgomery, Ala., represented the plaintiffs, along with Tobias L. Millrood and Matthew Leckman of Pogust Braslow & Millrood.
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.
“By marketing these drugs for uses that were never approved by the FDA and downplaying the risk of breast cancer, Wyeth put the lives of thousands of women at serious risk,” Beasley Allen Shareholder Ted Meadows said. “The drug manufacturer hid the risks from thousands of women as well as doctors across the United States.”
In the case of Elfont v. Wyeth, the jury assessed plaintiff Susan Elfont’s damages at $20 million. Elfont had taken HRT drugs for more than two years and developed breast cancer. In the case of Mulderig v. Wyeth, the jury assessed Judy Mulderig’s damages at $24.75 million. Mulderig took HRT drugs for more than 11 years before being diagnosed with breast cancer. In the case of Kalenkoski v. Wyeth, the jury assessed Bernadette Kalenkoski’s damages at $27.85 million. Kalenkoski took HRT medication for just under five years before being diagnosed with breast cancer.
The amount of the settlement agreements with the three Plaintiffs is confidential.