January 29, 2007
Wyeth Loses Prempro Trial
Today, a jury found Wyeth liable to plaintiff Mary Daniel and her husband in a Prempro trial in Pennsylvania state court. Here's an excerpt from the Reuters report:
A state jury in Philadelphia on Monday found Wyeth's hormone replacement therapy (HRT) Prempro was responsible for an Arkansas woman's breast cancer and ordered the U.S. drugmaker to pay $1.5 million in compensatory damages, a court official said.
The jury found that Wyeth was negligent in failing to provide adequate warnings about the breast cancer risk associated with Prempro.
The jury is expected to return, possibly as soon as Tuesday, to decide punitive damages after also finding that Wyeth's conduct was "malicious, wanton, willful or oppressive or showed reckless indifference to the interest of others" in its failure to provide proper warnings about its HRT drugs, taken by millions of women to treat symptoms of menopause.
October 11, 2006
Mistrial in Prempro Case
In Jennie Nelson v. Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, the court today declared a mistrial and ordered a new trial, according to a report from Reuters -- US judge declares mistrial, overturns Wyeth verdict:
Wyeth on Wednesday said a Philadelphia judge granted its motion to declare a mistrial, overturning last week's verdict against the drug maker in a product liability suit involving one of its hormone replacement drugs.
The mistrial motion was unopposed by the plaintiff, Wyeth said, but it gave no details regarding the basis for the motion, or the reasons for the ruling by judge Norman Ackerman, who presided over the trial.
An attorney quoted in the article stated that the mistrial was due to "extraneous circumstances," but gave no details because the judge's order was under seal.
The Nelson trial had been bifurcated, with the first phase addressing causation and compensatory damages and the second phase addressing liability and possibly punitives. The jury concluded, at the end of phase one, that Prempro was a cause of the plaintiff's breast cancer, and that the amount of damages was $1 million for Nelson and $500,000 for her husband. The second phase was scheduled to begin tomorrow.
October 06, 2006
Settlement in Nevada Prempro Case
Article on law.com -- Nevada Cancer Patient Reaches Accord With Wyeth in Prempro Case -- by Associated Press:
The same day a Philadelphia jury ruled that a hormone replacement drug at least partially caused a woman's breast cancer, a Reno woman who is dying of the disease reached an out-of-court settlement with the New Jersey-based drug maker.
Just two days before her trial was to begin, Carol McCreary and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals told Washoe District Judge Robert Perry on Wednesday they have resolved the case. Both sides agreed that the terms of the settlement will remain confidential.
If the report is correct that Wyeth settled this Prempro case, it's an interesting contrast to Merck's no-settlement strategy in the early stages of the Vioxx litigation.
October 04, 2006
Plaintiff Verdict in First Phase of Prempro Trial
In the first state court Prempro trial, the jury today returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff in the first phase of the trial. The Pennsylvania state court jury found that Wyeth's hormone replacement therapy was a cause of the plaintiff's breast cancer, and determined that the amount of compensatory damages would be $1 million for Jennie Nelson and $500,000 for her husband.
It's a "reverse bifurcation" phased trial. In the first phase, the jury determined causation and compensatory damages. In the second phase, the jury will determine liability, and depending on the outcome, punitive damages. In other words, the jury has not yet determined whether Wyeth is liable; there has been no determination of negligent failure to warn. Thus, although the determination of causation is a setback for Wyeth, the significance of this verdict depends mightily on what happens in the second phase.
The verdict did not come easy. Last week, the jurors informed the judge that they were deadlocked, but the judge ordered them to continue deliberating. Yesterday, the foreperson told the judge that they were close to a verdict, but today a juror was removed and replaced with an alternate. The verdict was announced shortly thereafter.
Last month, a jury found in favor of Wyeth in the first federal court Prempro trial.
October 03, 2006
Prempro Jury Near Verdict
In the second trial against Wyeth concerning Prempro, a hormone replacement therapy alleged to cause breast cancer, the jury foreperson informed the judge late Tuesday that the jury is close to reaching a verdict. After a two-week trial in Pennsylvania state court, the jurors last week had told the judge that they were at an impasse, but the judge ordered them to continue deliberating. This is the first Prempro trial in state court. Two weeks ago, a jury in the first federal court Prempro trial rendered a verdict for the defendant.
September 15, 2006
Wyeth not negligent in hormone drug trial
Article on cnnmoney.com -- Wyeth not negligent in hormone drug trial:
Jurors in the first trial against Wyeth's hormone replacement drug
that the company was not negligent and did adequately warn patients and doctors
of the risk of cancer.
the first of 5,000 filed against the company to go to trial, charged
Wyeth had been negligent in testing, manufacturing and marketing the hormone
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