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St. Petersburg, Florida

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Bob Carroll
Bob Carroll
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Jury Decides Prempro Caused Woman's Breast Cancer

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The second Prempro-breast cancer trial has produced positive news for women who were diagnosed with breast cancer after taking Prempro.

Woman wins first phase of Prempro-breast cancer trial

A jury ruled Wednesday that a hormone replacement drug at least partially caused a woman’s breast cancer, but the panel must return to determine whether drug maker Wyeth is liable for damages.

Jennie Nelson, 66, of Dayton, Ohio, had taken Prempro for five years to treat menopausal symptoms before being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001.

The jury awarded $1 million (?790,000) to Nelson and $500,000 (?395,000) to her husband in compensatory damages. But she will get the money only if she proves in the trial’s second phase that Wyeth failed to issue sufficient warnings or was otherwise negligent or reckless.

“Other plaintiffs lawyers will see this as an indication that it’s possible to prove causation in a Prempro case, and that will be encouraging to plaintiffs and unwelcome news for Wyeth,” Seton Hall law professor Howard M. Erichson said.

About 5,100 women have filed suits over Wyeth hormone drugs Premarin and Prempro, but just a handful are scheduled for trial this year. The Philadelphia case is the second to go to trial.

The professor is right about the importance of this jury decision. It tells us that linking the use of Prempo to breast cancer is doable. That was the issue which Wyeth felt was insurmountable for individual women.

Wyeth maintains that it is impossible to prove that Prempro caused individual cases of breast cancer.

This jury, after hearing the facts of this case, said it was possible. Is there any reason to believe a Florida jury would be less open to the evidence of causation?