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Dismissal of HRT Lawsuits Reversed

Jan 7, 2010 | Parker Waichman LLP

Plaintiffs in 100 lawsuits involving Prempro and other hormone replacement therapy drugs got a reprieve yesterday, when the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the complaints and sent them back to state court in Minnesota.

In 2008, a district court ruling had not only dismissed the Prempro lawsuits in Arkansas federal court, but had prevented them from being sent back to a Minnesota state court. In reinstating the complaints and sending them back to the state court, the 8th circuit said that since the proper venue for the lawsuits was a state court, the district court judge did not have jurisdiction to dismiss them. It also reversed the dismissal of dozens of cases that the lower court ruled should not have been part of the litigation because they duplicated claims pending in California, the Associated Press said.

According to the Associated Press, most of the lawsuits reinstated by the 8th Court of Appeals involve Prempro, which is manufactured by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals Inc., a division of Pfizer Inc. A total of a dozen companies, including Wyeth, Pfizer, Barr Laboratories Inc. and Mead Johnson & Co., are defendants in the Arkansas cases. The suits were filed by women or their survivors who claimed that the hormone replacement drugs caused breast cancer.

Hormone therapy drugs like Prempro, Premarin, and Provera are used to treat the hot flashes and other symptoms that accompany menopause. In 2002, a major study conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) determined that Prempro, Premarin and similar drugs significantly increased the risk of stroke, blood clots, heart attacks and breast cancer. The results were so alarming that the NIH canceled the study, citing risk to the study’s participants. The authors of the study suggested that many of the women who used the medications should quit and talk to their doctors about alternatives.

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