Appeals Court Reinstates More Than 100 Lawsuits Against Makers Of HRT Prempro
The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis on Wednesday reinstated more than 100 lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies filed by women or their surviving relatives claiming that the companies' hormone replacement therapy drugs caused breast cancer, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports. The AP/Chronicle reports that the women -- whose ages ranged from their 30s to their 80s -- received the HRT drugs, such as the combination estrogen-progestin drug Prempro, to treat symptoms of menopause. There are several thousand similar lawsuits filed nationwide.
The appellate court's decision overturns a 2008 district court's dismissal of the cases that prevented them from being heard in state courts in Arkansas and Minnesota. The new decision also reinstates dozens of cases that the lower court dismissed because they reportedly duplicated claims that are pending in California. According to the AP/Chronicle, the plaintiffs argued that the district court judge failed to provide them with a "reasonable opportunity" to be heard. They also said that the judge abused his authority by rejecting a stay on the cases until the claims in California were resolved.
The suit names 12 drug companies. Among the manufactures of the HRT drugs named in the suits are Pfizer, Barr Laboratories, Mead Johnson and Wyeth, which Pfizer acquired last year. The companies maintain that customers now are fully informed about the risks and benefits linked with the therapies (Bartels, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 1/7).
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