Three days after awarding $6.3 million in compensation, a Pennsylvania jury determined Pfizer Inc. will have to pay $28 million in punitive damages to a 66-year-old Donna Kendall claiming that the menopause drugs Prempro and Provera caused her breast cancer.
Kendall took the hormone replacement drugs between 1991 and 2002. Ms. Kendall was diagnosed with breast cancer that would lead to her double mastectomy.
Pfizer said it would appeal the Kendall verdict as well as a jury verdict in the same court ordering the company to fork over $75 million in punitive damages to bellwether plaintiff Connie Barton.
Wyeth, meanwhile, is also one of several defendants named in multidistrict litigation over Prempro. Other defendants named in the MDL include Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., Solvay Pharmaceuticals Inc., Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Ortho-McNeil Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc.
In that case, the plaintiffs claim that the drug company defendant, convinced doctors and the public that menopause was a chronic disease that required hormone drug treatment by an agressive and lengthy marketing campaign.
In cases like these, the jury send s a message that not only sure Pfizer and other companies not only compensate victims but should be punished by large punitive damages for ignoring the public health consequences in lieu of profits.
Members of the jury said after the trial that the evidence showed Pfizer units Wyeth and Pharmacia & Upjohn dismissed opinions that their hormone replacement drugs cause cancer, according to the Plaintiff’s lawyer.