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Philadelphia Jury Orders Pfizer’s Wyeth Division to Pay $9.45 Million to Breast Cancer Survivor

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February 22, 2010–a Philadelphia jury ordered Wyeth to pay $9.45 million to a woman who alleged that the company’s hormone-replacement drug, Prempro, caused her breast cancer. The woman, Audrey Singleton who is a retired school-bus driver from Alabama, received $3.25 million in compensatory damages and $6 million in punitive damages. However, Wyeth argues that “there is no basis in fact or law for either the liability verdict or the punitive award” and plans to appeal the decision.

Singleton, also a mother of three, began taking Prempro in August 1997. Results from her mammogram during that same time came back normal. However, she stopped taking the drug in January 2004 after another mammogram resulted in a breast cancer diagnosis. Luckily, her cancer is now in remission. Nevertheless, lawyers for the opposing side argued that Singleton knew of the risks of taking Prempro by July 2002, but chose to continue taking the medication according to her doctor’s suggestion.

More than six million women took Prempro to treat menopausal systems such as hot flashes or mood swings prior to a 2002 study that highlighted the drug’s links to cancer. Consequently, more than 8,000 people who used Wyeth’s hormone replacement drugs filed suit against the Pfizer pharmaceutical company, who purchased Wyeth last year for $68 billion. Including Singleton’s verdict, Pfizer has lost seven out of ten cases that have gone to juries.