February 3 2007
by M.T. Whitney
(NewsTarget) A married couple who sued drug maker Wyeth because it's hormone-replacement drug was the catalyst for the wife's breast cancer was awarded $1.5 million by a Philadelphia jury on Monday.
The jury also found Wyeth as having "acted with malice or reckless disregard," reported the Associated Press. A hearing about Wyeth's actions reportedly started Tuesday to consider further punitive damage.
The jury awarded $1 million in damages to 60-year-old Mary Daniel of Hot Springs, Ark. and $500,000 to her husband, Tom. Daniel had to go through two surgeries and chemotherapy to defeat breast cancer.
The hormone-replacement drug that the couple contends caused the breast cancer was Prempro, an estrogen and progestin drug for postmenopausal women. Drugs like Prempro were linked with an increased risk in breast cancer by a 2002 study by the federal Women's Health Initiative research program, causing a backlash among users who dropped the drug soon afterward.
"The evidence clearly shows that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) drugs actually harm more women than they help," said consumer health advocate Mike Adams, author of "Natural Health Solutions." "What this court decision confirms is that Wyeth deliberately hid scientific data describing the link between HRT drugs and breast cancer. I encourage other women harmed by HRT drugs to come forward and join the lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies that put their health at risk in order to generate profits," Adams said.
This was the third trial so far against Wyeth among thousands that have been filed. It is estimated that more than 4,750 cases have been filed regarding Prempro.
In October, a Philadelphia jury awarded an Ohio couple $1.5 million in damages because the HRT drug was believed to have given Jennie Nelson, 67, breast cancer. However, in later stages of the trial after the award was given, it ended up being a mistrial.
Another trial, held in Arkansas, resulted in the jury deciding in the favor of Wyeth, deciding that the company was not negligent in selling Prempro without adequate health warnings.