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Wyeth Slammed in Federal Court for Cancer-Causing Hormone-Replacement Drug

You'd think yesterday's decision by a federal jury in Philadelphia that awarded a 67-year-old Ohiowoman and her husband $1.5 million in compensatory damages after rulingthe woman's breast cancer was caused by taking the Wyethhormone-replacement drug Prempro would be a blessing.

Thanks to extended legal wrangling, however, that award mayevaporate if the woman can't prove in the next phase of her trial Wyethwas negligent or didn't warn patients adequately. No consolation orvindication at all to a woman who had a double mastectomy on top ofchemotherapy and radiation treatments.

By the way, this is only the second of some 5,000 lawsuits involvingWyeth's hormone replacement drugs that's been decided so far.Unfortunately, few Prempro plaintiffs are expected to win their casesat all, some experts say, only because Wyeth changed the drug labelafter a federal study showed how the drug elevated breast cancer risksamong older women 26 percent when combined with estrogen.

For women who need it, one safer hormone-replacement treatmentapproach that works best is a transdermal preparation of human estrogenapplied through the skin that decreases the production of potentially dangerous estrogen metabolites.

Yahoo News October 4, 2006

CBS News October 4, 2006