Bloomberg has a nice article on a 2007 case against Pfizer over its drug Prempro (the drug was manufactured by Wyeth, but Pfizer recently purchased Wyeth). The plaintiff in that Philadelphia state court case, Mary Daniel, took the drug for 16 months and argued that it caused her to develop breast cancer.
The jury in the Daniel case awarded $1.5 million in compensatory damages. Though the trial judge believed punitive damages were not warranted, the jury was allowed to deliberate on the issue in case the trial judge’s decision on punitive damages was overruled on appeal. According to the Bloomberg article, the jury awarded over $8 million in punitive damages. That number was sealed pending appeal; then, the trial judge died and a new judge granted Pfizer a new trial on compensatory damages. That decision is also being appealed.
This recent news on the 2007 verdict fuels the outrage against Pfizer/Wyeth for the injuries it has caused. Pfizer continues to toe the Wyeth party line, claiming that 24 cases have been resolved in their favor by juries or judges. This overlooks the reality that six of nine jury verdicts have been for plaintiffs, and any plaintiffs’ victory indicates that the drug can reasonably be responsible for the injury; whereas a defense verdict only means that the drug did not cause injuries in a specific case.