Hormone therapy drugs didn't cause cancer, jury rules

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Jul 28, 2011


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Legal Newsline) -- A federal jury on Thursday found that hormone therapy medicines manufactured by two Pfizer subsidiaries were not a cause in the development of a woman's breast cancer.

Thursday's verdict in the U.S. District Court of West Virginia marks five out of six recent jury wins for the company and its subsidiaries, Wyeth and Pharmacia & Upjohn.

"While we have great sympathy for Mrs. (Leah Royce) Hines and her family, this verdict affirms the fact that science cannot determine what caused or contributed to any individual woman's breast cancer, except in rare circumstances where genetics plays a role. In fact, the National Cancer Institute's website states that: 'No one knows the exact causes of breast cancer,'" Pfizer said in a statement.

"Hormone therapy medicines are an important treatment option for many women with debilitating symptoms of menopause. At all times relevant to this case, the companies' hormone therapy medications carried accurate, science-based, FDA-approved warnings for physicians and patients regarding a risk of breast cancer."

The plaintiff, Hines, was diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, on April 9, 1999 and breast cancer on July 2, 1999.

She filed a lawsuit against the Pfizer subsidiaries on July 7, 2004.

In her original complaint, Hines alleged that the hormone therapy drugs Premarin, Prempro and Provera caused her DVT and breast cancer.

Both Premarin, approved by the FDA in 1942, and Prempro, approved by the FDA in 1994, are used for the treatment of moderate to severe symptoms of menopause and the prevention of osteoporosis. Provera has been FDA-approved since 1959.

Hines had pursed both claims until January, when she withdrew her claims relating to DVT.

Judge John T. Copenhaver Jr. presided over the trial.

To read the full story, visit The West Virginia Record.

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