* Jury finds punitive damages are warranted
* Verdict is largest so far in Philadelphia cases
* Jury to reconvene on damages on Monday
LOS ANGELES, Nov 20 (Reuters) - A Philadelphia jury on Friday ordered pharmaceutical giant Pfizer PFE.N to pay $6.3 million in compensatory damages to an Illinois breast cancer survivor after finding menopause drugs Premarin, Provera and Prempro caused the disease.
The panel also found that punitive damages are warranted because of willful and wanton conduct by Pfizer units Wyeth and Pharmacia & Upjohn in failing to warn Donna Kendall about risks associated with the drugs, said her attorney Tobias Millrood.
The jury meets on Monday to decide on additional damages.
The award is the largest so far of about three dozen Prempro cases tried in Philadelphia, out of about 1,500 pending lawsuits, Millrood said.
Pfizer said it was “disappointed” by the verdict and would evaluate its legal options as soon as the case concludes.
The drug companies have prevailed in most hormone therapy cases spurred by the 2002 Women’s Health Initiative finding that long-term use of the menopause drugs increases women’s breast cancer and cardiovascular disease risks.
Kendall, 66, of Decatur, Illinois, had been taking Wyeth’s Prempro as well as Provera, sold by Pfizer’s Phamacia unit for a total of 11 years when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002, Millrood said.
Wyeth was the original defendant in hundreds of personal liability cases involving the hormone replacement therapy drugs. But with its $67 billion acquisition of that company, completed last month, Pfizer inherited Wyeth’s legal headaches as well as its drug portfolio and promising pipeline.
Wyeth and Pharmacia & Upjohn have argued at trial that the drugs were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The case is Kendall v. Wyeth et al, Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas. (With additional reporting by Bill Berkrot; Editing by Gary Hill)
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