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Helena Woman Sues Drug Company

Dec 20, 2004 | AP

A Helena woman is suing Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, alleging the drug manufacturer played down significant health threats while promoting the menopause medications that she says caused her to develop blood clots.

Joan Reichert filed her lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Helena earlier this month. She is seeking $10 million in punitive damages, plus unspecified actual damages.

In the lawsuit, Reichert alleges that Wyeth knew, or should have known, that its hormone replacement products sold under the brand names Prempro and Premarin posed more health risks than benefits to users.

A study by the Women's Health Initiative, released in early October, showed that estrogen-progestin pills double post-menopausal women's chances of developing dangerous blood clots. The results came from the same government study that was halted two years ago after Prempro estrogen-progestin pills appeared to raise the risk of heart attack, stroke and breast cancer.

Reichert and her attorney say Wyeth was negligent in warning of the dangers, made false representations about the safety of the product and offered a product that was neither safe nor effective and had serious side effects.

Since the studies, Wyeth officials have been promoting lower doses of estrogen be used in treating menopause for a shorter period of time than was prescribed in the past.

Richert's lawsuit was part of a class-action filing in Arkansas earlier this year, but the judge ordered that the cases be separated.

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