Wyeth wins mistrial to end second Premarin case

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 2006:
Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Norman Ackerman on
October 11, 2006 declared a mistrial in the first phase of a
scheduled two-part trial in which Jennie Nelson, 66, of Dayton,
Ohio, contended that she developed breast cancer in 2001 as result
of taking the Wyeth hormone drug Prempro for about five years.
PremPro is a combination of progestin and Premarin, a brand
name derived from “pregnant mare’s urine.” Producing Premarin
requires keeping mares pregnant, breeding a constant surplus of
foals, many of whom are sold to slaughter. Under boycott by animal
advocacy groups worldwide since shortly after ANIMAL PEOPLE published
investigative findings by the Canadian Farm Animal Concerns Trust in
April 1993, Premarin was still the top-selling prescription drug
worldwide in 2001, but sales plummeted after the Women’s Health
Initiative study funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in
July 2002 determined that the Premarin component of PremPro appears
to be associated with increased risk from heart attacks, strokes,
and blood clots forming in the lungs.


Ackerman sealed the reason for his mistrial ruling. The
mistrial declaration erased a jury award to Nelson of $1.5 million
one week earlier, and cancelled the second phase of the trial. The
jury verdict came just hours after Ackerman replaced one juror with
an alternate, after the original jury deliberated for six days.
The jury then found probable cause to believe that taking PremPro
contributed to Nelson’s illness, and that she had suffered $1.5
million damages. Whether Wyeth was actually liable for the damages,
by reason of negligence, was to have been the subject of the second
trial phase.
Wyeth on September 15, 2006 won the first of about 4,500 pending
lawsuits from former estrogen supplement users, when a federal jury
in Little Rock, Arkansas, ruled that Linda Reeves, 67, had
ignored precautionary warnings sold with the supplements. Reeves
took Premarin, progestin, and the combined Premarin/progestin drug
PremPro for at least five years before discovering in 2000 that she
had breast cancer.
Wyeth and a third plaintiff, Carol McCreary, 59, of Reno,
announced on October 4 that they had reached an out of court
settlement, on the eve of going to trial. The terms were not
disclosed.
Between 4,500 and 14,000 similar cases are pending,
according to conflicting reports.

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