Processing Magazine

Wyeth found not negligent in hormone drug trial

September 19, 2006

A jury in the first trial against Wyeth''s hormone replacement drug Prempro found that the company was not negligent and did adequately warn patients and doctors of the risk of cancer, Reuters reports. The lawsuit, the first of 5,000 filed against the company to go to trial, charged that Wyeth had been negligent in testing, manufacturing and marketing hormone therapies used to treat menopausal symptoms, sales of which have plummeted since a 2002 study found an increased risk of breast cancer, stroke and heart disease. Lawyers for plaintiff Linda Reeves, 67, had also argued that the company failed to warn users and doctors about the need for regular screening for cancer and heart problems. The jury for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas in Little Rock also found that the company''s hormone drugs were not defective in their design. Prempro, containing the synthetic chemical progestin, and a similar drug named Premphase, are prescribed to women in combination with estrogen drug Premarin, which has been on the market since the 1940s, to help counteract the effects of menopause. Wyeth, which has spent over $21 billion to settle suits over its recalled diet pills once used in the fen-phen slimming cocktails, has historically dominated the market for women''s health products.