In the case of Jennie Nelson v. Wyeth
in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas the jury found that the plaintiff’s use of Wyeth’s hormone therapy, Prempro, was a cause of her breast cancer and awarded Jennie Nelson $1.5 million in compensatory damages. The case will continue to a second, liability phase that will determine if Wyeth is liable and is required to pay those damages. If the jury finds Wyeth liable, punitive damages may also be considered in the second phase.
“Clearly, the medical evidence overwhelmingly showed that Wyeth’s drug Prempro caused Jennie Nelson’s breast cancer, which required years of medical treatment,” says Tobias Millrood of Schiffrin & Barroway, co-counsel representing Nelson. “We look forward to commencing the second phase of this trial, which will explore Wyeth’s conduct in promoting and marketing this drug and Wyeth’s liabilities to Mrs. Nelson.”
Wyeth says that it respectfully disagrees with the jury’s decision that there is any scientific basis to support the jury’s finding of a causal link between its hormone therapies and the plaintiff’s breast cancer.
In the second phase, which will begin on October 12, Wyeth says that it intends to show that the company acted reasonably by performing and supporting studies that examined the known and potential benefits and risks of hormone therapy and in keeping the FDA, physicians, and patients informed of those risks and benefits. Wyeth also points out that in 1995 the FDA noted that hormone therapies are the most extensively researched medicines in the U.S.
More than 5,000 cases are pending against Wyeth over the use of Prempro causing plaintiffs’ breast cancer.