The biggest maker of birth control pills in the United States, Wyeth, settled a lawsuit on the eve of a trial for a terminally ill woman who blamed the company’s Prempro menopause drug for her breast cancer.

Judge Bryan Garruto approved the settlement July 16, 2007 just hours before Ellen Deutsch’s case was to begin. Terms of the agreement are confidential.

Deutsch’s case was the third of its kind slated for trial that subsequently settled out of court. Wyeth currently faces over 5,000 lawsuits over various drugs they manufacture.

The hormone therapy Prempro came under fire after a 2002 study found that users had an increased rate of breast cancer.

In response to the Prempro controversy, Wyeth issued new guidelines that caution against its long-term use and has reduced the drug’s recommended dosage by half.

This may be a case of too little too late, however. Many medical organizations have issued statements urging women to avoid using Prempro and similar hormone therapy drugs altogether.


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