Jury Selection In First Prempro Trial To Begin TuesdayMain Category: Litigation / Medical Malpractice
Article Date: 24 Aug 2006
Jury selection in the first of more than 5,000 lawsuits filed over Prempro, a combination hormone replacement therapy manufactured by Wyeth, is expected to begin Tuesday in federal court in Little Rock, Ark., Bloomberg/Philadelphia Inquirer reports (Bloomberg/Philadelphia Inquirer, 8/22). As many as six million women had taken Prempro, which contains estrogen and progestin, to treat menopause symptoms before results from the Women's Health Initiative released in 2002 linked the medication to a 24% increase in risk for invasive breast cancer and other health risks. According to the NIH Web site, the increased risk translates to eight additional cases of breast cancer per 10,000 women annually (Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times, 8/21). In the first Prempro lawsuit to reach trial, plaintiff Linda Reeves alleges that the medication, which she took for eight years, caused her to develop breast cancer. According to the lawsuit, Wyeth was aware of the link between Prempro and increased risk for breast cancer prior to the release of the WHI results but did not inform the public. Wyeth sales representatives "are expected to testify that they were told to minimize the drugs' risks," the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports. Wyeth has denied the allegations and has said that the Prempro label includes a warning about increased risk for breast cancer (DeMillo, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 8/21). Lawyers on Monday argued about evidence before U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry Jones, who temporarily was replacing U.S. District Judge William Wilson, who is expected to preside over the trial. The trial initially was scheduled to begin on Monday, but Jones delayed jury selection by one day to hear the arguments (AP/NewsChannel5, 8/22). Wyeth officials have said that the company plans to defend each Prempro lawsuit individually. The second Prempro trial will begin in September in state court in Philadelphia (Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times, 8/21).
APM's "Marketplace" reported on the start of the trial. The segment includes comments from Mike Doyle, an attorney who usually represents plaintiffs and is not involved in the trial, and Ian Sanderson, pharmaceutical analyst at Cowen and Company (Palmer, "Marketplace," APM, 8/21). The complete transcript and audio of the segment in RealPlayer are available online.
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