Pfizer defends Wyeth's conduct on HRT

Pfizer fights back: The drugmaker issued a statement today responding to the New York Times' big take-out on hormone replacement therapy. According to the company, the newspaper's coverage cherry-picked the science and history of HRT to cast a pall over the hormone drugs that have been the subject of so much litigation between women who used them and Wyeth, the company that sold them (and that Pfizer acquired earlier this year).

So, Pfizer set out a three-point rebuttal, saying that a "full, fair and accurate report" on hormone therapy would a.) say it's "an important treatment option" for certain women; b.) point out that "Wyeth has acted responsibly" in studying its hormone drugs for decades; and c.) the FDA-approved labels for Premarin and Prempro are accurate and science-based, and that they've warned for years of the risk of breast cancer to patients using the drugs.

Of course, the many lawsuits over Premarin and Prempro question those assertions--which makes sense, given that the NYT piece drew heavily from documents finally made public in connection with those cases. We've covered a lot of the lawsuit news as it's been released, so you know that the plaintiffs accuse Wyeth of downplaying the risks of its hormone drugs. At least one judge has ruled that Wyeth's questioning of unfavorable studies of those meds could allow a jury to find the company guilty of malicious conduct. But as the NYT points out, two other judges ruled that juries shouldn't award punitive damages because the evidence of corporate misconduct was lacking.

We'll let you make your way through the Times' lengthy piece--and Pfizer's response. Let us know what you decide.

- see the Pfizer statement
- check out the story in the Times