A partial retrial against Pfizer in the case of an Arkansas woman who got breast cancer after taking hormone replacement therapy has been allowed by the US Supreme Court.
The world's biggest drugmaker had argued that a retrial limited to punitive damages violated its rights by allowing a new jury to consider only part of the case and not all other matters in the case.
In 2008, a jury sided with the plaintiff, Donna Scroggin, and awarded her 27 million dollars in punitive damages in her case against two units now owned by Pfizer -- Wyeth and Upjohn. It also awarded her another 2.7 million dollars in compensatory damages.
The jury concluded that Wyeth failed to warn her adequately of the elevated breast cancer risks of the drugs Premarin and Prempro, which she took for 11 years before being diagnosed with the disease.
A federal appeals court judge said some expert testimony provided by a Food and Drug Administration official should not have been admitted in the trial, but agreed that Wyeth should be made to pay punitive damages and ordered a partial new trial limited to the damages.
Chief Justice John Roberts, who owns stock in the company, did not participate in considering the petition.