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Court Crier: BioPharma

In Daniel v. Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania addressed whether an award of punitive damages was appropriate in a Prempro case involving a plaintiff with breast cancer, and whether a new trial was warranted based on the subsequent testimony of the plaintiff's expert in another case. The court held that Wyeth's knowledge or strong suspicion by the mid-1970s that hormone therapy increased the risk of breast cancer, coupled with its later "failure and refusal to conduct adequate studies," was enough to support the jury's award of punitive damages, despite the Food and Drug Administration's prior approval of the Prempro package insert. As to the new trial issue, the court held that the expert's later testimony (that he could not give an opinion as to the cause of the breast cancer given the short duration of Prempro therapy) limited his ability to testify as to the type of cancer the Prempro had caused, but did not affect his opinion that Prempro had caused some type of cancer to grow because that testimony was supported by another expert. (February 7, 2011) 

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