Wyeth appeals $58 million award in Nevada drug case

RENO " Pharmaceutical giant Wyeth is appealing an award of $58 million to three Nevada women who claim one of its drugs caused their breast cancer.

The appeal filed Wednesday asks the Nevada Supreme Court to overturn the Feb. 21 award by Washoe County District Judge Robert Perry.

It is the largest award to date against the Madison, N.J.-based company, which faces about 5,300 similar lawsuits across the country in state and federal courts.

All involve the drugs Premarin, an estrogen replacement, and Prempro, a combination of estrogen and progestin. The drugs are prescribed to women to ease menopause symptoms.

Perry cut the damages award from $134 million to $58 million for the women, citing concerns that "passion and prejudice" inflated the verdict.

While praising the judge's action, Wyeth spokesman Doug Petkus maintained "it doesn't change the fact that the verdict was irreparably flawed and fraught with error."

The $58 million award went to Jeraldine Scofield, 74, of Fallon; Arlene Rowatt, 68, of Incline Village; and Pamela Forrester, 65, of Yerington.

On Thursday, a federal jury ordered Wyeth and Upjohn Co. to pay about $27 million to a Little Rock, Ark., woman who got breast cancer after taking hormone replacement therapy.

The jury on Thursday ruled that Donna Scroggin, who sued the companies in 2004, should receive $19.3 million from Wyeth and $7.7 million from Upjohn Co. in punitive damages.

Jurors last month ruled in favor of Scroggin and said that Wyeth inadequately warned her that its drugs Premarin and Prempro carried an increased risk of breast cancer. The lawsuit also named Upjohn Co., the maker of Provera.

The jury ruled last month that Scroggin receive $2.75 million in compensatory damages.


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