Breast cancer has climbed to 1 in every 8 women and now the finger is beginning to point to drug manufacturers. Wyeth and Pfizer have made combination hormone drugs for over 30 years and these HRT drugs (hormone replacement therapy) are commonly used for menopause treatments. About 10,000 cases against these pharmaceutical giants have already been filed and Pfizer has spent nearly $900 million to resolve about half of them.
Some go to trial, others settle more quietly out of court. Just last week, a Utah jury found Wyeth responsible for one woman's breast cancer and awarded her $5 million in compensation. Utah does not allow for punitive damages.
Studies, such as the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) study, released this statement with it's results: "Women using Hormone Replacement Therapy ("HRT") are more likely to develop breast cancer than those who are not using HRT."
The National Institute of Health completed the Million Women Study in Britain a few years ago. Based on the results, the NIH concluded that the "Current use of HRT is associated with an increased risk of incident and fatal breast cancer; the effect is substantially greater for oestrogen-progestagen combinations than for other types of HRT."
One expert testified that his research showed as many as 15,000 cases of breast cancer per year occurred in women taking the combination hormone drug. Yet the "defense witnesses told you the same thing, the same story line, that Wyeth wanted them to tell you over and over — that no one knows what causes breast cancer," said Russell T. Abney, another attorney representing Okuda. "We are not arguing that Ms. Okuda didn’t have an abnormal cell in her body. What we are arguing is that [estrogen plus progesterone] promoted that abnormal cell to grow."
Women don't have to choose between drugs and cancer for debilitating symptoms of menopause. There are other choices of menopause treatment.