Pfizer’s bid to appeal a $58 million award to three breast cancer patients was recently denied by the U.S. Supreme Court. The plaintiffs, Pamela Forrester, Jeraldine Scofields and Aelene Rowatt, contracted breast cancer as a result of using the company’s menopause drugs, Prempro and Premarin.

A study published in 2002 linked use of the hormone replacement drugs to breast cancer, which ultimately gave way to the filing of thousands of lawsuits against drug manufacturer, Pfizer. In fact, the company has settled approximately a third of the pending cases against Prempro and announced recently that it has set aside $772 million in order to resolve claims over the menopause treatment.

The Nevada Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the appeal leaves the award as the largest to be upheld in the long list of hormone-replacement drug lawsuits. Moreover, the original amount awarded to the plaintiffs by jurors totaled $134.1 million but was later reduced by a trial judge to $57.6 million.

Sales of Prempro and Premarin exceeded more than 2 billion before the incriminating 2002 study was published. The drug Premarin was originally sold by Wyeth, which was acquired by Pfizer in 2009. Premarin was then combined with Pfizer’s Provera and was ultimately branded as Prempro. The drugs are still available on the market today.


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