Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Plaintiff Verdicts in Prempro Trials

In the hormone replacement therapy (HRT) litigation, plaintiffs won substantial verdicts in two trials in state court in Pennsylvania.  In the trial that concluded yesterday, the jury imposed punitive damages of $28 million on top of the $6.3 million in compensatory damages it had already awarded to plaintiff Donna Kendall.  In the other case, the court yesterday unsealed a punitive damages verdict of $75 million for plaintiff Connie Barton, who had been awarded $3.7 million in compensatory damages. When the Barton punitive verdict was reached in late October, the court took the unusual step of sealing the amount of punitives (see here and here) while the Kendall trial was pending.  Here's an excerpt from today's Philadelphia Inquirer article:

Pfizer Inc. has been hit with more than $100 million in two punitive-damage awards - one decided and the other unsealed yesterday - from Philadelphia juries.

Both cases involve Prempro, a hormone-replacement drug made by Wyeth, which recently was acquired by Pfizer. Plaintiffs said the drug was linked to their breast cancer.

The total includes $28 million awarded yesterday to Donna Kendall of Decatur, Ill.

In the second case, Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Sandra Moss yesterday unsealed a verdict reached earlier this year that awarded $75 million in punitive damages to another Illinois resident, Connie Barton, over her Prempro-linked breast cancer. ...

About 1,500 of 10,000 similar cases are pending in Philadelphia, a common jurisdiction for large liability cases, attorneys say.

With the momentum in plaintiffs' favor and 10,000 cases remaining, one has to wonder whether Pfizer will seek some sort of global settlement.  We can't help comparing Pfizer's position to the position of Merck before it settled the Vioxx litigation.  After a similar but slightly higher number of trials, Merck abandoned its try-every-case-individually strategy and negotiated a mass aggregate settlement.  Merck, however, settled when it had a favorable trial record; so far the defendants have not prevailed in most of the HRT trials. 



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I'm glad because Ms Kendall and Ms Barton were awarded for all their suffering but what about the other thousands of women who are still waiting for justice? I think Wyeth and Pfizer has to accept their rsponsibility for all the deaths and suffering of all the women who took their HRT drug.

Posted by: Gladys Rodriguez | Feb 2, 2010 10:15:35 AM

I think Pfizer must seek some sort of global settlement with the 10,000 cases remaining, they have to pay for all the suffering they caused to all these women.

Posted by: Gladys Rodriguez | Feb 10, 2010 9:40:27 PM

I would love to see something. My mother recently died from cancer related problems inluding, double mastectomy, stem cell transplant, MDS and recently ...death ...at 72 ....I miss my mom so much. If she would never taken the HRT she would be with us now!

Posted by: Jo | Oct 27, 2012 3:30:37 PM

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