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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

They didn’t warn her, the jury said: A menopause drug lawsuit

Merle Simon had taken Provera for ten years. The New Jersey woman was one of as many as six million women who took the pills to treat menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and mood swings before a 2002 study by the National Institutes of Health that highlighted the drug’s link to cancer.

She has just won a lawsuit against Pfizer, which now owns Upjohn, the company that made Provera. In awarding her $1.5 million, the jury said the drug maker had failed to adequately warn her of the risk of invasive breast cancer. Merle took Provera starting in 1992, her lawyer, Jim Morris, told jurors. She stopped taking the drugs after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002, he said.

Advice to women nearing menopause: Carefully consider the risks and benefits before starting hormone replacement therapy. Useful background information appears here.

Read another of our stories, about the beneficial use of hormones, or the source story in today’s Boston Globe.

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