Federal preemption fails in award against Wyeth products

Share this article:
Federal preemption arguments failed in October to prevent a Nevada jury from awarding three women $134.5 million in their suit against Wyeth over its hormone replacement products Premarin and Prempro that they alleged caused their breast cancer. Later, the presiding judge slashed $100 million from the award as improperly punitive and ordered the jury to reconsider it.

The award was seen as daunting for Wyeth as it defends more than 5,000 similar lawsuits across the country. A penalty phase of the trial continues, which could lead to more monetary damages.
Preemption arguments were first raised in Wyeth's 2004 answer to the plaintiffs' complaint. The company said plaintiffs' claims that its products were unsafe are barred by the doctrine of preemption and the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.

“Any claim for injunctive relief is preempted or barred by federal law because such a claim would impede, frustrate and burden the effectiveness of federal law regulating the field of prescription drugs; require Wyeth to meet conflicting obligations under federal and state law; and constitute an invalid burden on interstate commerce…,” it said.

Share this article:
close

Next Article in Features

Email Newsletters

More in Features

Headliner: Proteus CEO takes an original path

Headliner: Proteus CEO takes an original path

Andrew Thompson, CEO, Proteus Digital Health

Leadership Exchange: How Do We Get Beyond the Pill?

Leadership Exchange: How Do We Get Beyond the ...

As its focus moves from manufacturing to service, pharma needs to partner with healthcare neophytes as well as established players. James Chase asks six experts to assess the risks and ...

FDA and off-label uses: a balancing act

FDA and off-label uses: a balancing act

FDA's current re-examination of its off-label promotion policies in light of the First Amendment is a delicate balancing act between its rock-solid traditional enforcement posture and a diverse new electronic ...