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Wyeth Embroiled in a Lawsuit over its Hormone Replacement Therapy

Monday saw the conclusion of the first of a wave of prescription drug trials with the hearing of the closing arguments as Wyeth defended// its hormone replacement therapy Prempro against claims of increased risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer.

Zoe Littlepage, an attorney for plaintiff Linda Reeves, told the jury at the federal court in Little Rock said, "Wyeth was negligent in not testing the drug and not knowing the truth about their drug."

However Wyeth's lawyer Jane Bockus told the panel of nine women and three men that the company had been warning doctors as early as 1991 of a reported increase in malignancies among patients taking its hormone replacement therapy and that the therapy should not be prescribed for over a year without a follow-up exam.

On Reeves testimony it was revealed that she took Prempro for more than eight years.

Bockus said, "Clearly the label contained adequate information," to allow doctors to decide on patient treatment.

This is the first trial of 5,000 lawsuits filed against Wyeth for Prempro.

Reeves, 67, and her lawyer told the jury at the U.S. Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas that consuming Prempro caused the growth of a breast tumor, for which she had to undergo a mastectomy.

Prempro is a combination of the hormones estrogen and progesterone to overcome the effects of menopause and has been sold in the United States since 1995.

Wyeth’s lawyers argued that the drug company had met its ethical and legal obligations in determining the treatment's safety, before U.S. District Judge William R. Wilson, Jr.

Reeves’ lawyers have said that she is seeking an unspecified judgment that could exceed $1 million.


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