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Published on 8 February 2008

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Judge sets date for Wyeth hearing

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A US judge has refused to grant a new trial or overturn a $134m ruling against pharmaceutical giant Wyeth.

However, he has agreed to consider whether the damages a jury awarded to three Nevada women in October were excessive.

Washoe County District Judge Robert Perry set a hearing in Reno for 14 February to hear arguments about the evidence used to support the $35m in compensatory damages and the “factual and legal basis” for the $99m in punitive damages.

The three women claimed that hormone replacement drugs distributed by Wyeth caused their breast cancer, and the jury agreed with them.

Their claims related to Premarin, an oestrogen replacement, and Prempro, a combination of oestrogen and progestin.

Geoff White, one of the lawyers who represented the trio, said: “We think the money the jury awarded was appropriate given the circumstances.

“The $99m is less than one half of one percent of Wyeth Corporation’s net worth and the only language these companies understand is money.”

But Heidi Hubbard, a Washington-based lawyer who helped represent Wyeth, said that the firm was looking forward to having a chance to prove that the verdict was “an extreme aberration … completely inconsistent with the evidence and grossly excessive”.

Copyright © PA Business 2008

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