Pfizer ordered to pay $5.8 million to woman diagnosed with breast cancer after taking HRT drug Prempro

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by Michael Heygood

A judge has ruled that Pfizer Inc. must pay about $1.8 million in punitive damages to a Connecticut woman who developed breast cancer after taking the company’s Prempro hormone replacement therapy drug. The court’s recent order means that Pfizer must pay Margaret Fraser a total of nearly $5.8 million for her claims the Prempro caused her to develop cancer.

A jury awarded Fraser and her husband $4 million in compensatory damages in April 2012 after finding Pfizer, the world’s largest drugmaker, liable for her injuries. The jury found that the drug company failed to properly warn the retired public-school principal about Prempro’s risks. They also concluded that Pfizer’s mishandling of the hormone therapy drug warranted a punitive damage award.

Pfizer has reportedly settled about 95 percent of the more than 10,000 lawsuits filed over its hormone replacement therapy drugs. The company set aside about $1.6 billion to cover those costs according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Until 1995, many menopausal women combined Premarin, Wyeth’s estrogen-based drug, with progestin-laden Provera, made by Pfizer’s Upjohn unit, to relieve their symptoms. Wyeth combined the two hormones in its Prempro pill. More than 6 million women took Prempro and related menopause drugs to treat symptoms such as hot flashes and mood swings before a 2002 study highlighted their links to cancer. Pfizer’s sales of the medicines, which are still on the market, topped $2 billion before the release of the Women’s Health Initiative, a National Institutes of Health-sponsored study.

HO&P Fighting Big Pharma

The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have made it a career priority to hold drug manufacturers accountable and responsible for their actions. As a result, we have spent years holding drug companies and medical device manufacturers responsible for the injuries and deaths caused by their reckless conduct. We have represented hundreds of people regarding dangerous fentanyl pain patches, defective hip and knee implant devices, Yaz, Actos, Avandia and Accutane—to name just some examples.

Heygood, Orr & Pearson is AV-rated, the highest legal and ethical rating available from the leading law firm rating service. Our partners Michael Heygood, Jim Orr, and Eric Pearson are all Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Mr. Heygood and Mr. Orr are additionally Board Certified in Civil Trial Advocacy Law by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. Our partners been voted by their peers as “Super Lawyers” in the state of Texas for several years in a row.*

At Heygood, Orr & Pearson, we believe that when a drug company sells a drug or medical device that is dangerous and unsafe, they should be held responsible for the damage. In addition, we have the resources and experience to protect a person’s rights and the rights of their loved ones against irresponsible pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers.

If you have been injured or have lost someone you care about because of defective or dangerous prescription drugs or medical devices, you deserve to have the manufacturer held responsible and to receive proper compensation. Contact us for a free consultation by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001 or by filling out the free consultation form on this page to find out more about your legal option.

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Michael Heygood, James Craig Orr, Jr. and Eric Pearson were selected to the Super Lawyers List, a Thomson Reuters publication, for the years 2003 through 2013.