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Pfizer to Pay $330 Million Over Menopause Drug Prempro

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on February 11, 2011 5:50 AM

For Pfizer, Prempro has been a significant source of problems. In 2009, when the company bought Wyeth, the original manufacturer of the menopause drug, it inherited a host of lawsuits.

It appears that, after eight years of litigation, this chapter in Wyeth's history may be coming to an end; Pfizer is allegedly starting to settle.

Prior to 2002, more than 6 million women took Prempro to help manage symptoms of menopause, reports Bloomberg. That year, a study was released, linking the drug to breast cancer, heart attack and stroke.

More than 10,000 claims have been filed against Wyeth, now Pfizer. Prempro, and all other pharmaceuticals, must be labeled with proper warnings. Manufacturers must fully investigate the safety of their drugs, disclose any risks to the Food and Drug Administration, and eventually place a warning label containing all of those risks on the packaging to inform doctors and patients. When new information is discovered, warning labels must be updated.

Claims against Pfizer's Wyeth are based on the company's failure to warn its customers about these risks. The product liability suits allege that the company knew about the health risks, yet failed to disclose them.

Reports that Pfizer has agreed to settle more than 2,200 claims for a sum of $330 million may be the company signaling that the new management is ready to resolve its Prempro issues, says Les Funtleyder, one of Miller Tabak & Co.'s fund managers. This theory may be true, as Bloomberg reports that the Pfizer Prempro legal team began negotiations with a host of other plaintiffs this past summer.

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