$8.6 Million Punitive Damages Verdict Stands after Review by State Supreme Court

The Pennsylvania State Supreme Court has dismissed appeals by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals in its attempt to reverse a jury verdict of $8.6 million, which included a very sizable sum for punitive damages. A lawsuit originated in a claim against Wyeth as to its menopause drug, Prempro, which has been associated with women developing breast cancer.  Wyeth had asked the state’s Supreme Court to overturn the September 2013 punitive damages verdict. Wyeth argued that the verdict should be invalidated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) earlier approval of the drug for safe use. 

Wyeth maintained that the appellate court had erred in reinstating the jury verdict that was entered by a Philadelphia jury in 2007 for Mary Daniel, who claimed that the Prempro menopause drug caused her breast cancer. 

Following that jury verdict, the punitive damages were tacked onto a compensatory damage award of $1.7 million.  Ms. Daniel and her husband were the plaintiffs in the case. 

The premise for the punitive damage award was that Wyeth had failed to completely test the drug’s breast cancer risks. The court had ruled that failing amounted to “outrageous conduct” that merited a verdict of punitive damages.

It has been reported that six other appellate state courts across the United States have upheld punitive damage awards against Wyeth in cases involving the same menopause drug, Prempro. 

Mary Daniel and Thomas Daniel, Sr. v. Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Inc., et al., No. J-84A & B – 2012, in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, Eastern District (Dec. 16, 2013).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling mass tort cases, pharmaceutical defect cases and medical device defect cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 37 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Highwood, Melrose Park, Naperville, Rolling Meadows, Palos Heights, Rosemont, Richton Park, Palos Hills, Barrington, Crystal Lake, Homewood and Wilmette, Ill.

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