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Preview: LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Hormone Replacement Therapy Legal News

LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Hormone Replacement Therapy Legal News



Headline Hormone Replacement Therapy Legal News from LexisNexis®



 



Magistrate Judge Says 'New Science' Does Not Tarnish Expert's Methodology
JONESBORO, Ark. - An expert in a Prempro products liability case can testify that women who experience menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes are at a lower risk of breast cancer and that when estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer develops, the estrogen is present only because of hormone replacement therapy, a federal magistrate judge in Arkansas ruled Sept. 17 after finding that the manufacturer's attempt to use "new science" to rebut the expert's methodology failed (In re: Prempro Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1507, Case No. 03-cv-1507, Margaret Wilson, et al. v. Wyeth Inc., et al., No. 05-cv-0078, E.D. Ark.; See related stories in this issue). Full story on lexis.com



Judge Finds Expert's Improper Differential Diagnosis Makes Opinion Unreliable
JONESBORO, Ark. - The federal judge presiding over the Prempro multidistrict litigation in the Eastern District of Arkansas on Sept. 26 held that an oncologist's opinion that a woman's use of the hormone replacement therapy caused her to develop breast cancer was unreliable because he failed to perform a proper differential diagnosis to reach his conclusion (In re: Prempro Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1507, Case No. 03-cv-1507, Margaret Wilson, et al. v. Wyeth Inc., et al., No. 05-CV-78, E.D. Ark.; See related stories in this issue). Full story on lexis.com



Plaintiffs' Expert Testimony On Wyeth's Alleged Failure To Test Is Excluded
JONESBORO, Ark. - A federal magistrate judge in Arkansas on Sept. 16 held that a woman claiming that her use of Prempro caused her to develop breast cancer cannot present testimony from three experts about Wyeth Inc.'s alleged failure to properly test its hormone replacement therapies after placing them on the market because there is no industry standard of care for companies to follow (In re: Prempro Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1507, Case No. 03-cv-1507; Margaret Wilson, et al. v. Wyeth Inc., et al., No. 05-cv-78, E.D. Ark.). Full story on lexis.com



Va. Woman Can Pursue Design Defect Claim Against Prempro Maker, Judge Says
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A Virginia woman claiming that she developed breast cancer as a result of using Prempro can argue that two alternative designs for the hormone replacement therapy that do not carry a risk of cancer could have been manufactured, a federal judge ruled Oct. 4 in denying in part Wyeth's motion for summary judgment (Georgia Torkie-Tork v. Wyeth, No. 04cv945, E.D. Va.; See September 2010, Page 9). Full story on lexis.com



Judge Rejects Prempro Maker's Argument That Woman's Claims Are Preempted
PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Sept. 30 denied Wyeth Inc.'s motion to dismiss a Michigan woman's lawsuit claiming that her use of Prempro caused her to develop breast cancer after finding that the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) does not have preemptive effect on common-law claims under Michigan law (Jane Hall v. Wyeth Inc., et al., No. 10-00738, E.D. Pa.; 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105653). Full story on lexis.com



Plaintiff Says Judge Erred In Remitting $70 Million From Punitive Damages Award
PHILADELPHIA - An Illinois woman who was awarded $75 million in punitive damages by a jury that determined that her use of Prempro was a proximate cause of her breast cancer says in a Sept. 20 brief filed in the Pennsylvania Superior Court that the trial judge who slashed the award by $70 million erred by simply reducing the amount using a mathematical ratio (Connie Barton v. Wyeth Pharmaceuticals Inc., et al., No. 694 EDA 2010, Pa. Super.; See February 2010, Page 4). Full story on lexis.com



Judge: New York State Court Judgment Precludes Plaintiffs' Minnesota Lawsuits
MINNEAPOLIS - A New York state court judge's summary judgment ruling finding that claims by plaintiffs in nine hormone replacement therapy product liability cases were time-barred addressed the merits of the plaintiffs' claims and had a preclusive effect on the parallel suits the plaintiffs filed in Minnesota federal court, a federal judge ruled Sept. 23 in awarding summary judgment to Wyeth (Jeanette Rick, et al. v. Wyeth, et al., No. 08-1287, D. Minn.; 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100170). Full story on lexis.com



Yasmin/Yaz MDL Judge Says Calif. Drug Distributor Is Fraudulently Joined
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - The federal judge presiding over the Yasmin and Yaz marketing, sales practices and products liability multidistrict litigation in the Southern District of Illinois on Oct. 4 denied motions to remand in 11 cases after finding that McKesson Corp. was fraudulently joined to their lawsuits because the plaintiffs failed to allege that the California-based company distributed the birth control pills that caused their injuries (In re Yasmin and Yaz (Drospirenone) Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2100, Case No. 09-md-2100, Nadine Camara, et al. v. Bayer Corp., et al., No. 10-cv-20247, S.D. Ill.; 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105532). Full story on lexis.com



New York Federal Judge Throws Out Patent Suit Over 'Yasmin'
NEW YORK - Efforts by Bayer Schera Pharma AG and Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals (collectively, Bayer) to block rival drug makers from marketing a generic version of Yasmin were rejected Sept. 28 by a federal judge in New York (Bayer Schera Pharma AG and Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals v. Sandoz Inc., et al., No. 08-3710, S.D. N.Y.; 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 102132). Full story on lexis.com



FDA Warns Wyeth Over Misleading Testimonials For Premarin
ROCKVILLE, Md. - The Food and Drug Administration's Division of Drug Marketing, Advertising and Communications (DDMAC) announced Sept. 14 that it sent a letter to Pfizer Inc. subsidiary Wyeth Pharmaceuticals Inc. warning the manufacturer that testimonial videos on the brand website for Premarin misrepresent the safety and risks of the hormone replacement therapy and misbrand the drug in violation of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA). Full story on lexis.com



Pennsylvania Superior Court Reverses Limitations Rulings In 14 Prempro Cases
PHILADELPHIA - The Pennsylvania Superior Court on Aug. 30 reversed summary judgment rulings in 14 cases brought by women claiming that their use of Prempro and other hormone replacement therapies caused them to develop breast cancer after finding that a Common Pleas Court judge erred in finding that the plaintiffs' claims were time-barred on the ground that the discovery rule was inapplicable (Elizabeth Coleman, et al. v. Wyeth Pharmaceuticals Inc., et al., No. 2678 EDA 2007, Pa. Super., 2010 Pa. Super. 158; 2010 Pa. Super. LEXIS 2629; October 2007, Page 6). Full story on lexis.com



Prempro Plaintiff, Defendants Settle Punitive Damages Before Oct. 1 MDL Retrial
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - A Prempro plaintiff whose $27.1 million punitive damages award was reversed and set for retrial on Oct. 1 has settled, the Arkansas federal judge overseeing the multidistrict litigation disclosed Aug. 19 (In re: Prempro Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 1507, Donna Scroggin v. Wyeth, et al., No. 04-CV-1169, E.D. Ark.). Full story on lexis.com



Pennsylvania Jury Finds Prempro Not Factual Cause Of Women's Cancers
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania Common Pleas Court jury on Aug. 18 found that two women's use of Prempro was not a factual cause of their development of breast cancer and that the manufacturers need not pay damages for the women's illnesses (Sharon Buxton, et al. v. Wyeth, No. 040700202, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.). Full story on lexis.com



Wyeth Moves To Exclude Experts' Opinions In Va. Woman's Prempro Lawsuit
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - The maker of Prempro on Aug. 27 moved to exclude the testimony of six experts offering opinions in support of a Virginia woman's claims that her use of the hormone replacement therapy caused her to develop breast cancer because the opinions fail to satisfy the standards set forth in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals (509 U.S. 579 [U.S. Sup. 1993]) Full story on lexis.com



Wyeth Says Prempro Label Cannot Form Basis Of Woman's Fraud Claim
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - The maker of Prempro says in a Sept. 3 brief filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia that a Prempro label containing alleged misstatements about the risk of breast cancer cannot be the basis for a woman's fraud claim because the language in the label was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (Georgia Torkie-Tork v. Wyeth, No. 04cv945, E.D. Va.; See related story this issue). Full story on lexis.com



Minn. Federal Judge Transfers 4 HRT Cases To Federal Courts Where Plaintiffs Reside
MINNEAPOLIS - A federal judge in Minnesota on Aug. 20 transferred four Prempro products liability cases to federal courts in the plaintiffs' home states after finding that Minnesota was an inconvenient forum for the parties and witnesses (Shelia Baird v. Wyeth Pharmaceuticals Inc., et al., No. 04-3091, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86041; Jo Ann Galati, et al. v. Pharmacia & Upjohn Co., et al., No. 04-2966, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86139; Mary Ann Plunkett v. Wyeth, et al., No. 04-3378, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87390, Libby Jo Rogers, et al. v. Wyeth Inc., et al., No. 08-2149, D. Minn., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86070). Full story on lexis.com



Widower Says Dismissal For Failure To Prosecute Should Be Reversed
ST. LOUIS - A man claiming that his wife's death from breast cancer was caused by her ingestion of Premarin and Prempro says in an Aug. 24 brief submitted to the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that the federal judge presiding over the Prempro multidistrict litigation erred in dismissing his lawsuit for failure to prosecute because he and his attorney worked diligently to obtain an updated medical authorization form (Martin Heth v. Wyeth Inc., et al., No. 10-2478, 8th Cir.; See August 2010, Page 8). Full story on lexis.com



MDL Judge Remands Ore. Women's Lawsuit, Says Physicians Are Properly Joined
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - The federal judge presiding over the Prempro multidistrict litigation on July 20 remanded an action brought by two Oregon breast cancer patients and a widower accusing the makers of Prempro and their prescribing physicians of downplaying the risks of cancer associated with the hormone replacement therapy after finding that their professional negligence claim against the physicians was plausible under Oregon state law (In re: Prempro Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1507, No. 03-cv-1507, Sharron Selman, et al. v. Pfizer Inc., et al., No. 10-cv-00409, E.D. Ark.; 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86103). Full story on lexis.com



Expert Testimony On Premarin's Ability To Cause Breast Cancer Deemed Unreliable
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Two federal judges wrote in an Aug. 30 ruling that two expert's opinions suggesting that the use of estrogen-only hormone replacement therapy can cause breast cancer are unreliable because they do not satisfy the requirements established in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals (509 U.S. 579 [U.S. Sup. 1993]) (In re: Prempro Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1507, Case No. 03-cv-1507; Natalie Beylin, et al v. Wyeth, et al., No. 06-3112, Jeanne Yobs, et al. v. Wyeth, et al., No. 06-3120, Pamela Dawn Thorne, et al. v. Wyeth, et al., No. 06-3123, E.D. Ark.; See August 2010, Page 4). Full story on lexis.com



Federal Judge Tosses Third-Party Payer Suit Against Yaz Makers
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - The federal judge presiding over the Yasmin and Yaz marketing, sales practices and products liability multidistrict litigation on Aug. 5 dismissed a third-party payer class action suit alleging that they overpaid for Yaz as a result of the manufacturers' off-label marketing of the birth control pill and misrepresentations about the drug's safety and effectiveness (In re: Yasmin and Yaz (Drospirenone) Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2100, Case no. 09-md-2100, Philadelphia Firefighters Union Local No. 22 Health and Welfare Fund, et al. v. Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals Inc., et al., No. 09-cv-20071, S.D. Ill.). Full story on lexis.com



Researchers Shed Light On Ghostwritten Articles Promoting Prempro
SAN FRANCISCO - A study examining Wyeth's use of ghostwritten studies that downplayed the risks and touted the benefits of Prempro states that the drug maker paid a medical communication company $25,000 to write four articles on clinical studies involving low-dose versions of the hormone replacement therapy. Full story on lexis.com



Study Finds HRT Use Reduces Risk Of Colon Cancer
NEW YORK - A study published in the August issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology revealed that using hormone replacement therapy for any length of time cuts the risk of distal colon cancer in half. Full story on lexis.com



Wyeth: Testimony On Breast Cancer And Estrogen-Only Therapy Should Be Excluded
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - The manufacturer of Premarin on July 29 filed a motion in Arkansas federal court to exclude the general causation testimony of two expert witnesses who opine that estrogen-only hormone replacement therapy increases the risk of cancer because the opinions are not supported by reliable methodology (In re: Prempro Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1507, Case No. 03-cv-1507, E.D. Ark.). Full story on lexis.com



Prempro MDL PSC Says Court Should Decide Estrogen-Only Causation Issue
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - The Plaintiffs' Steering Committee (PSC) in the Prempro multidistrict litigation says the judge presiding over the proceedings should determine whether there is sufficient scientific evidence to support the theory that estrogen-only products such as Premarin can cause breast cancer rather than select a group of cases for bellwether trials (In re: Prempro Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1507, Case No. 03-cv-1507, E.D. Ark.). Full story on lexis.com



2 Prempro Cases In Federal MDL Settle Before Trial
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Two cases involving plaintiffs claiming that their use of hormone replacement therapy contributed to their development of breast cancer that were scheduled for upcoming trials in the Prempro multidistrict litigation in federal court in Arkansas were dismissed with prejudice on July 20 after the cases were settled for undisclosed amounts (In re: Prempro Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1507, No. 03-cv-1507, Helen Joyce Hill v. Wyeth, et al., No. 05-cv-546, Diane LaFerrara v. Wyeth Inc., et al., No. 04-cv-2271, E.D. Ark.). Full story on lexis.com



Widower Tells 8th Circuit Why Prempro MDL Judge Erred In Dismissing Case
ST. LOUIS - A man whose lawsuit was dismissed by the federal judge overseeing the Prempro multidistrict litigation told the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a July 16 filing that the judge erred in his decision because he could have imposed a lesser sanction for the delayed production of his deceased wife's updated medical authorization form (Martin Heth v. Wyeth Inc., et al., No. 10-2478, 8th Cir.). Full story on lexis.com



Woman Says Hospital Should Be Found In Contempt For Not Producing Slides
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A Virginia woman who claims that her use of Prempro caused her to develop cancer moved in federal court on July 30 for an order to show cause as to why a hospital should not be held in contempt of court for its failure to comply with a subpoena requiring production of pathology slides (Georgia Torkie-Tork v. Wyeth, No. 04cv945, E.D. Va.). Full story on lexis.com



Minnesota Federal Judge Transfers Woman's Provera Lawsuit To Georgia
MINNEAPOLIS - A federal judge in Minnesota on July 22 transferred a woman's lawsuit against the manufacturers of Provera to federal court in Georgia because it is where she allegedly sustained her injury as a result of ingesting the hormone replacement therapy and because it is where several essential witnesses reside (Jan Love v. Pfizer Inc., et al., No. 08-2612, D. Minn.; 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74163). Full story on lexis.com



N.J. Judge Denies Request To Seal Executives' Letters, Opposition Brief
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - The New Jersey judge overseeing the state's Ortho Evra mass tort litigation on July 23 denied the contraceptive makers' motion to seal a woman's opposition to its motion for summary judgment as well as two letters from Johnson & Johnson executives that were attached as exhibits after finding no good cause to seal the documents (In re: Ortho Evra Birth Control Patch Litigation, Case No. 275, Kelsey Dery v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. L-5743-07 MT, N.J. Super.; Middlesex Co.). Full story on lexis.com



NuvaRing Makers Move To Dismiss 2 Lawsuits Over Missing Fact Sheets
ST. LOUIS - The manufacturers of the NuvaRing contraceptive on Aug. 4 moved to dismiss two product liability lawsuits in the multidistrict litigation court in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri because the plaintiffs failed to submit completed Plaintiff Fact Sheets (PFS) and medical records (In re: NuvaRing Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1964, Case No. 08-md-1964, E.D. Mo.). Full story on lexis.com



FDA Warns Topical Spray Maker About Unintended Exposure To Estrogen
SILVER SPRING, Md. - The Food and Drug Administration on July 29 issued a letter to the manufacturer of Evamist recommending that children and pets not be exposed to the transdermal hormone therapy after receiving adverse event reports of premature puberty, nipple swelling, breast development and breast enlargement. Full story on lexis.com