Some women who reach their middle age enter a stage of life called
menopause. Over the last 60 years, millions of women have received
menopausal hormone therapy to relieve symptoms of menopause which are
sometimes felt as “hot flashes.” Through the 1970’s, menopausal women
received estrogen to combat those symptoms. Premarin, manufactured by
Wyeth Laboratories from pregnant mare's urine, was the nation’s leading
menopausal drug. But in the 1970’s, doctors learned that Premarin caused
endometrial cancer. Predictably, sales of Premarin plummeted, as woman
appropriately stayed away.
Only a few years later, however, Wyeth learned that if women combined
estrogen with another hormone called progestin, the endometrial
cancer problem would disappear. So, to revive its failing drug, Wyeth
told woman and their doctors that if they took the combination of
Premarin and a progestin, they would not develop endometrial cancer.
Moreover, Wyeth told the public, this “combination hormone therapy”
(estrogen and a progestin), would also provide added protection to their
heart, their bones, that it would help prevent Alzheimer’s disease,
depression, and increase their sexual vitality. In the mid-1990s, Wyeth
turned the combination of Premarin and a progestin into a single pill,
called “Prempro,” and promoted it to women as the Fountain of Youth.
Wyeth, however, had no data to back these claims up.
In July 2002, a federal study revealed that long-term use of Prempro
leads to increased risk of breast cancer, heart disease and strokes.
This study, called the Woman’s Health Initiative (WHI), showed
doctors that virtually everything that the pharmaceutical companies had
been telling them about the benefits and risks of Prempro was wrong!
The WHI study concluded that the RISKS of Prempro outweighed its
benefits, and urged woman on the study to stop taking Prempro
Wyeth scurried to
change its warning label, but for thousands of woman, it was too late –
they had tragically developed breast cancer, and their lives forever
changed. A breast cancer epidemic had been created.
companies had created a “conventional wisdom” that pushed
physicians to prescribe hormone therapy to women who did not
need it, where safer alternatives existed. The WHI brought
to light Wyeth’s failure to test its products and warn woman
and physicians about the true risks.
Women are now asking Wyeth the tough questions:
• After Wyeth knew that Premarin caused endometrial cancer, why didn’t
it test its new drug, Prempro, to make sure it was safe?
• Why did Wyeth tell women that Prempro was safe to use for the
long-term when it had no tests to prove that it was safe for long-term
• Why did Wyeth tell women that Prempro was good for their hearts,
bones, and brain, when it had no good data to back up those claims?
• Why did
women have to wait for a federal study to find out what Wyeth was
responsible for knowing decades ago?
• What responsibility is Wyeth willing to take for the cancer epidemic
Over the past few years, the lawyers at Janet, Jenner & Suggs, LLC
have been investigating these questions for women nationwide. Our
nationally recognized firm includes a board-certified
obstetric/gynecologist M.D., nurse/attorneys (R.N./J.D.'s), and
nurse/paralegals. In addition to our medical expertise, we have received
the highest rating for ethical
conduct and professional excellence offered by Martindale-Hubbell®
("AV"). We are recognized in the Best Lawyers in America, and have been
long-recognized as leaders in our profession, and in the effort to bring
the pushers of hormone therapy to justice.
If you are interested in learning more about hormone therapy and breast
cancer, click here.
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