Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Pennsylvania jury links drug to cancer

A Pennsylvania court recently brought back a $72 million verdict in a product liability and defective drug action against the manufacturer of a hormone replacement drug. The jury verdict followed claims by three women that taking the drug, designed to ease menopause, ultimately led to breast cancer.

The drug in question is thought to have been taken by more than 6 million women. Though marketed to alleviate menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and mood swings, the drug has been linked to cancer since 2002. Sales of the drug, which is still being marketed, now exceed $2 billion.

The drug came onto the market in 1995 and is sometimes used in tangent with other medications produced by the same manufacturer. Because of its long history there have been many such claims as the ones filed above against the drug manufacturer, and the manufacturer had set aside as much as $772 million to resolve these claims.

The unfortunate consequence of use of such drugs is that the health effects may not be immediately recognizable, but when the onset of the injury actually occurs the effects may be irreversible. Drug manufactures often make billions of dollars off of such drugs without adequately researching the short and long term risks of taking such medications. Proving up such claims may be challenging, but it can be accomplished with an attorney experienced in litigating matters against large drug manufacturers.

All three women in the above lawsuit were diagnosed with cancer. Experts at trial had concluded that none of the three women had a history of cancer and therefore the drug taken was the most likely cause in the development of the disease. Two of the women were former teachers and the other was a former nursing home assistant.

Source: Crain's New York, "Pfizer to pay $72M as jury finds drug caused cancer," by Bloomberg News, Dec. 6, 2011

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