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Articles Posted in Wyeth

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The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals knocked out a Prempro wrongful death case, finding that Mississippi’s three-year statute of limitations has no exception for drug product liability claims.
The court found that under Mississippi law (and most states, unfortunately) a cause of action accrues when the plaintiff has knowledge of the injury, not knowledge of the injury and its cause.
You can find the unpublished opinion in Bryant v. Wyeth here.

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MassTortDefense Blog posted about the U.S. Supreme’s Court decision to not hear a punitive damages case, Wyeth v. Scroggin.

In the first trial, bifurcated on liability and damages, the jury held the drug company responsible to the tune of $2.7 million in compensatory damages, and then $19.4 million in punitive damages. Appeals predictably followed, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit overturned the punitive damages award based on some evidence that should not have been permitted. That court then ordered a new trial on punitives, only.

The issue that some wanted the Supreme Court to decide was whether a new trial on punitives alone was okay, or whether the entire trial had to be redone.

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The Supreme Court rejected Pfizer’s appeal in the Scroggins case, where a jury rendered a compensatory damages verdict of $2.75 million. Pfizer wanted the Supreme Court to order a new trial on the entire case—compensatory and punitive damages, as well as causation. The trial jury decided on $27 million for punitive damages, and Pfizer will get a new trial on that.
Wyeth has lost seven out of eleven cases (at the trial level) since 2006.
For more on the hormone therapy backstory, see our prior Drug Recall Lawyer Blog posts.

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Here are this week’s stories:

  • Medtronic: Medtronic reported that it paid $15.7 million to U.S. doctors in the first 3 months of 2010. Payments were for consulting fees and royalties. This report comes well in advance of the new law requiring disclosure beginning in 2013. See Medtronic’s searchable database of payments.
  • Digitek: A request for a class certification was recently denied in the Digitek MDL. The MassTortDefense Blog has an update.
  • PediaCare Recall: over 100,000 bottles of PediaCare, formerly manufactured by Johnson & Johnson (and, still being manufactured in their facility), have been recalled. This is a precautionary recall, based on the known problems with the J&J manufacturing facility.
  • AstraZeneca and Social Media: Here is AstraZeneca’s take on the transparency/social media issue.
  • Generic Drugs: The Supreme Court asks Obama’s administration for an opinion as to whether generic drug manufacturers can be sued for inadequate labeling that matches labeling of brand-name drugs. Here is the Eighth Circuit’s opinion, deciding that generic drug manufacturers can be held liable.
  • Celebrities in the News: Dennis Quaid is bringing public awareness to injuries caused by pharmaceutical companies. He settled with the hospital on the heparin overdose of his children, but now he’s going after the pharmaceutical company, Baxter Healthcare Corp.
  • More on Whistleblowing: Wyeth (through Pfizer) is accused of illegally promoting its kidney transplant drug for other organs and specifically among African-Americans, who have greater risks associated wit the drug.

Happy Wednesday!

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In Bruesewitz v. Wyeth, the plaintiffs are appealing to the United States Supreme Court from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. They believe that the administrative set-up of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (est’d 1988) is an insufficient remedy for vaccine-related injuries. Under the Act, designed to encourage drug companies to create vaccines, injured consumers receive damages under a no-fault system, decided by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. The petition was granted on March 8.

In this case, the Bruesewitz’s child received a standard DPT vaccine, which caused seizures and permanent neurological injury. The question presented is whether the national Childhood Vaccine Injury Act preempts all vaccine design defect claims, regardless whether the vaccine’s side effects were unavoidable.

So what do you think? Has the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act outlived its usefulness (assuming it was ever useful to begin with)?

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Prempro-pills-02-25-10.jpgSince Monday, there have been decisions in two hormone therapy cases. Here are the details:

Monday, February 22-Audrey Singleton: In the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, a jury found for the Plaintiff and against Pfizer/Wyeth. The verdict, which came after a four-hour deliberation, was for $9.45 million ($3.25 in compensatory damages and $6 million in punitive damages, with $200,000 to the plaintiff’s husband for loss of consortium). The plaintiff was on hormone therapy for six years, before being diagnosed with breast cancer, which is currently in remission. Notable about this case is that the plaintiff was on hormone therapy for about a year and a half after release of the WHI study showing that Prempro increases the risks of cancer. Plaintiff’s lawyers stated that this verdict confirms Wyeth’s actions after release of the study were irresponsible and negligent.

Wednesday, February 24-Cheryl Foust: Also in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, this case was a defense verdict after six hours of deliberations, on the basis of specific causation. We linked to this case previously—it is the one where plaintiff’s twin sister also took hormone therapy, but did not get breast cancer (both argued that this fact supported their position). Plaintiff was successful in convincing the jury that Wyeth was negligent by not properly warning Ms. Foust’s health care providers about the risks of Prempro, and that the failure caused the health care providers to prescribe the drug to Foust. However, the jury found that the drug did not cause her breast cancer. Ms. Foust succumbed to her cancer at the age of 56; the case was brought by her widower.