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Jury Clears Wyeth in Menopause Drug Case

September 16, 2006|From the Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A federal jury Friday rejected an Arkansas woman's claim that Wyeth and its hormone-replacement drugs, which she took for eight years, were responsible for her breast cancer.

Linda Reeves' lawsuit was the first of about 4,500 against Wyeth to go to court. During the four-week trial, Reeves acknowledged not reading information supplied with the drug and said she left it up to her doctor to decide whether it was appropriate to treat symptoms of menopause.

The lawsuit said Wyeth failed to act responsibly. Wyeth lawyers told jurors that the benefits of Prempro and a similar drug, Premarin, outweighed the risks and said the company had informed Reeves and her doctor of the risks associated with the drugs.

Reeves, 67, took one or the other of the drugs before being diagnosed in 2000 with a cancerous tumor in her right breast. She initially took Premarin, a form of estrogen, and her doctor soon added progestin to her daily regimen. In 1995 she switched to Prempro, which for the first time combined Premarin and progestin in one pill.

After her cancer diagnosis, Reeves had a mastectomy and chemotherapy. She has been cancer-free since.

When the verdict was read, Reeves and one of her daughters left the courtroom in tears. Zoe Littlepage, an attorney for Reeves, said outside the courtroom that she was disappointed with the ruling.

"It's a very sad day for the Reeves family. They deserved better than this. They deserved justice from this company," Littlepage said.

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