Product Liability: Drugs – Hormone Therapy Drugs & Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is a woman’s nightmare. For a woman to discover that her breast cancer was caused by a drug prescribed by her doctor just adds insult to injury. That is what has happened to thousands of women.

Wyeth, a division of Pfizer, marketed hormone therapy drugs, Premarin, Prempro and Provera, which were designed to moderate the symptoms of menopause. As early as 1975, Wyeth was on notice of the need to study whether combination hormone therapy causes breast cancer. Wyeth failed to conduct a single breast cancer study over the next 30 years. In fact, Wyeth downplayed and dismissed studies that associated such a risk. Wyeth assisted in “ghost writing” 1 medical articles minimizing the breast cancer risk and exaggerating the benefits of hormone therapy, and then persuaded independent doctors to submit the articles for publication in medical journals.

In recent trials against Wyeth in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, juries in two cases awarded over $100 million dollars in compensatory and punitive damages against Wyeth. 2 These are the latest of a dozen trials against Wyeth for marketing drugs when they knew of significant health risks caused by the drugs. Studies now confirm that an estimated 200,000 women would not have suffered breast cancer but for their use of combination hormone therapy drugs.

If you or a loved one has suffered serious side effects from taking HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) drugs, such as Premarin, Prempro and Provera or if you have been diagnosed with breast cancer after taking hormone replacement therapy, you may have a claim against the manufacturer. Please contact us our personal injury attorneys for more information at 866-388-1307.


1 – “Ghost writing” is the practice of having a professional writer who is paid to write articles, reports, or other texts that are officially credited to another person. The practice is also described as follows: “With medical ghostwriting, pharmaceutical companies pay both professional writers to produce papers and then pay other scientists or physicans to attach their names to these papers before they are published in a medical or scientific journals. Medical ghostwriting has been criticized by a variety of professional organizations representing the drug industry, publishers, and medical societies, and it may violate American laws prohibiting off-label promotion by drug manufacturers as well as anti-kickback provisions within the statutes governing Medicare. Recently, it has attracted scrutiny from the lay press and from lawmakers, as well. It is permitted at some institutions, including the University of Washington School of Medicine, while it is prohibited and considered a particularly pernicious form of plagiarism at others, such as Tufts University School of Medicine.” Quote from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghostwriter, which also has cites for these statements.

2 – See articles 11/23/09: “Jury Tacks on $28M in Punitive Damages for Pfizer at http://www.law360.com/articles/135861; and “Jury awards $75M in punitive damages to Illinois woman in Prempro cancer case” at http://blog.taragana.com/law/2009/11/23/jury-awards-75m-in-punitive-damages-to-illinois-woman-in-prempro-cancer-case-17634/.