By Madeline Genner for PM
N0vember 24, 2009
A US woman has been awarded more than $80 million in punitive damages and more than $4 million in compensation after she developed breast cancer.
She argued successfully that her breast cancer was linked to a hormone replacement drug.
In a second case, another woman was awarded more than $30 million.
The jurors heard testimony that Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, which is now owned by Pfizer, paid consultants and ghostwriters of medical journals to play down concerns of breast cancer.
Across the US more than 10,000 product liability cases have been filed over hormone replacement drugs, and this week’s verdicts could lead to similar cases in Australia.
“What we often tend to find particularly with pharmaceutical cases is that the United States tends to be some years ahead of our country, when it comes to litigation involving drugs,” Simon Morrison, partner with Shine Lawyers said.
“And in our country the linkage is this; if we see a decision come out of the United States like the HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) decision like Vioxx a couple of years ago, that can provide a platform for Australians to seek redress as well.”