(January 30, 2012) A Philadelphia Common Pleas Court jury last month awarded three women a collective $72.6 million in compensatory damages in their case against the drug manufacturer Pfizer.
The three women had alleged that they each had developed breast cancer after taking hormone therapy drugs such as Prempro, which were designed to treat their menopausal symptoms.
“Hormone therapy medicines are an important treatment option for many women with debilitating symptoms of menopause,” the statement said. “The FDA has regularly and thoroughly reviewed the benefits and risks of these medicines”, and states that, “hormone therapy is the most effective FDA-approved medicine for relief of hot flashes, night sweats, or vaginal dryness.”
One woman, Elfont, 66, a former Northeast Philadelphia resident, had taken hormone therapy drugs for more than two years before being diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997. She was awarded $20 million. A second woman, Kalenkoski, 68, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002 and had taken the hormone therapy drug Prempro for more than four years. She was awarded $27.85 million. Mulderig, also 68, had taken both Premarin and Provera for eleven years before she received her breast cancer diagnosis. She was awarded $24.75 million in damages.
A Women’s Health Initiative report released early last decade found that women taking hormone replacement therapy drugs experienced an increased risk in developing breast cancer.
It is truly surprising that doctors are still prescribing synthetic hormones to women for menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, despite the fact that all these dangers of synthetic hormones have been known for so many years. These drugs also were promoted for off-label uses, including prevention of cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
These drugs were never approved of by the FDA, and the drug manufacturer hid these calculated risks from thousdands of women (as well as doctors) throughout the United States just to keep up the profits.
It is important to do your own research before you take medicine prescribed by your doctor. Sometimes, it is better to live with the uncomfortable symptoms such as hot flashes, than the possibility of developing breast cancer. Is this justice?