Pfizer Settles Prempro Case That Led to $72.6 Million Award

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Bloomberg Business Week

Dec. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Pfizer Inc., the world’s largest drugmaker, agreed to settle claims that its menopause drugs caused cancer in three women who won a $72.6 million jury award earlier this week, a lawyer said.

The New York-based company agreed to resolve claims by Susan Elfont, Bernadette Kalenkoski and Judy Mulderig that hormone-replacement drugs made by two Pfizer units caused their breast cancer, Ted Meadows, a lawyer for the women, said in an interview today. A Philadelphia jury awarded the three women $72.6 million in compensatory damages on Dec. 6.

“They’re just glad to be able to go on with their lives,” said Meadows, who declined to disclose the amounts of the settlements because they are confidential.

The accord comes a day before jurors were to begin hearing testimony in a second phase of the case. The panel would have been asked to decide whether Pfizer should face punitive damages over its handling of the menopause drugs.

“The parties have entered into a mutual agreement to resolve this case under confidential terms,” Chris Loder, a Pfizer spokesman, said in a telephone interview. The earlier verdict will be set aside as part of the settlement, he said.

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. Wyeth’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.

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