Drug giant Wyeth loses another HRT trial to the tune of $1.5 million

Drug giant Wyeth has been ordered by a court in Philadelphia to pay $1 million in compensation to a woman who developed breast cancer after taking the hormone replacement therapy (HRT) Prempro.

The woman's husband was also awarded damages to the tune of $500,000 after it was revealed that the drug was responsible for causing the woman's breast cancer.

It seems that Mary Daniel, aged 60, of Hot Springs, Arkansas, developed breast cancer after taking Prempro for a 16 month period to treat the symptoms of menopause.

Daniel began taking Prempro in late 1999, and was diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2001.

She then underwent two surgeries as well as chemotherapy and radiotherapy for the cancer.

The trial heard evidence that Wyeth had known for decades that the drug was linked with an increased risk of developing breast cancer in postmenopausal women but still failed to provide adequate warnings about such a risk, despite the worldwide use of the drug.

Daniel's lawyer has accused Wyeth of placing financial profit above the safety of patients.

Reports indicate that Wyeth could now be facing as many as 5,000 liability lawsuits over its hormone replacement drugs; this case is only the third lawsuit involving Prempro to reach a verdict.

Wyeth has to date lost two of the three cases but has declined to comment on the latest verdict.

The jury also found Wyeth guilty of conduct which was "malicious, wanton, willful or oppressive or showed reckless indifference to the interest of others" in its failure to provide proper warnings about its HRT drugs, taken by millions of women to treat symptoms of menopause.

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