As reported in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on 08/21/10, Donna Gail Scroggin launched a lawsuit against Wyeth and Upjohn (now owned by Pfizer) in 2004, alleging the hormone medications Prempro and Premarin she took for 11 years for menopausal symptoms caused breast cancer, resulting in a double mastectomy.
In 2008 a federal jury awarded the Little Rock woman $2.75 million in compensatory and about $27 million in punitive damages. Yet three months later the presiding judge, US District Judge Bill Wilson, Jr., determined that he should not have allowed jurors to hear certain testimony in the Prempro hormone replacement therapy lawsuit. As a result, punitive awards against Wyeth worth $19.36 million and Upjohn worth $7.76 million were withdrawn.
The 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis subsequently reversed the dismissal of the punitive award on appeal and directed that a retrial be undertaken on the punitive issue alone. The refusal by the US Supreme Court to hear an appeal on the 8th Circuit Court decision set the wheels in motion for a retrial that was set for October 1 of this year.
However, rather than go through the rigors of another long trial, the plaintiff and the defendants settled the case out of court. Terms of the Prempro cancer settlement were not disclosed.
Earlier in the summer a spokesperson for the manufacturers indicated that the drug maker "acted responsibly by conducting or supporting more than 180 studies on hormone therapy's benefits and risks, keeping the US Food and Drug Administration fully informed, and providing proper, accurate and science-based information to patients and doctors. Hormone therapy remains a very important treatment option for many women with debilitating symptoms of menopause."
Prempro has been linked to various side effects and adverse reactions, including HRT and heart disease as well as cancer.