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Pfizer Settles More Premarin, Prempro Breast Cancer Lawsuits

Dec 20, 2011 | Parker Waichman LLP

Nearly 5,000 of the 10,000 breast cancer lawsuits Pfizer faced over its Prempro and Premarin hormone therapy drugs have been settled.  According to a Bloomberg News report, Pfizer disclosed the Prempro and Premarin settlements in its latest 10Q report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on November 10.

Pfizer inherited thousands of Prempro lawsuits when it acquired Wyeth in 2009, and at one time faced as many as 10,000. In a May filing with the SEC, Pfizer disclosed it has set aside $772 million to settle the lawsuits which it said represented “the minimum expected costs to resolve all of the other outstanding” lawsuits.  At the time, the company said it had settled roughly 3,300 Premarin and Prempro lawsuits

Now, in the November filing, Pfizer put the number of settled lawsuits at almost 5,000. The company also reported that it had added $68 million to the $772 million it already reserved.  About $260 million remains, but Pfizer acknowledged that “additional charges may be required" to resolve the remaining complaints.

Hormone therapy drugs like Prempro and Premarin, which are used to treat the symptoms of menopause, became controversial in 2002, after a study linked them to a higher risk of breast cancer. More than 6 million women took Prempro and related menopause drugs before that study was released.

Prempro and Premarin lawsuits claim Wyeth did not adequately test the drug, and that the company failed to adequately warn that they may increase the risk of breast cancer. 

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