Lawsuits claim Wyeth's menopausal hormone drugs cause breast cancer

NEW YORK Women across the United States allege in lawsuits that they developed breast cancer and other problems after taking menopausal hormone drugs made by Wyeth, according to an investigative report.

The New York Times reported Saturday that 13,000 women have sued the pharmaceutical company — recently acquired by Pfizer — over the last seven years. The plaintiffs allege that Wyeth exaggerated the benefits of the drugs Premarin (conjugated estrogens) and Prempro (conjugated estrogens and medroxyprogesterone acetate) while downplaying the cancer risks.

Pfizer has said the drugs are safe and that it will appeal the lawsuits, according to the Times. In a statement Saturday responding to the article, Pfizer said that Wyeth acted responsibly by studying the risks and benefits of the drugs and that the drugs’ labels have warned about the risk of breast cancer for several years, with warnings about the risk of endometrial carcinoma appearing on the labeling for Premarin in the 1970s.