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Wyeth fined USD 134.5m in hormone drug case

A jury has fined US-based pharmaceutical company, Wyeth, USD 134.5m on the back of a lawsuit filed by three women who claimed that the company's HRT drugs had caused their breast cancer.

A jury has fined US-based pharmaceutical company, Wyeth, USD 134.5m on the back of a lawsuit filed by three women who claimed that the company's HRT drugs had caused their breast cancer.

The fine is the largest so far against Wyeth, which faces more than 5,000 similar lawsuits across the country in state and federal courts.

The panel announced its verdict on 11 October 2007.

Douglas Petkus, a spokesman for Wyeth offered no comment. But in an e-mail message to The Associated Press, he explained that 20 similar cases had gone to trial or been otherwise resolved. Of those, three were found in favour of Wyeth, two plaintiff verdicts were set aside by the courts and three cases were dismissed on summary judgment. Twelve other cases were dropped by the plaintiffs before trial.

The women testified that they had started taking Premarin, an estrogen replacement, and Prempro, a combination of estrogen and progestin, to deal with their menopausal symptoms, but were taken off the therapy when they developed breast cancer.

Wyeth lawyers said the company sponsored or participated in studies on the risks of breast cancer, and detailed the risks on accompanying warning labels included.

Wyeth reached an undisclosed settlement with a fourth woman who had been part of the Prempro lawsuit. She died in April 2007 aged 59.

30th September 2008

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