Mistrial Is Declared in Wyeth Case

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A Pennsylvania judge Wednesday threw out a $1.5-million award to a woman who claimed that drug maker Wyeth's menopause medicines caused her cancer.

Judge Norman Ackerman in Philadelphia declared a mistrial without explanation and discarded the Oct. 4 jury finding that Wyeth's Prempro and Premarin were a cause of Jennie Nelson's breast cancer. The jury last week set compensatory damages at $1.5 million, raising the possibility of punitive damages in a second phase.

"We are going to push hard to get this case back on the docket for trial as soon as possible so we can again show Wyeth's culpability in selling these drugs," said Ken Suggs, a Columbia, S.C.-based lawyer who represented Nelson.

The Philadelphia jurors were to start hearing evidence today on whether the Madison, N.J.-based company failed to warn of the treatments' risk and whether it should have to pay punitive damages to Nelson, 67, and her husband.

Wyeth's lawyers declined to say why the drug maker sought the ruling.

Wyeth's shares fell 14 cents to $51.51 on Wednesday. They have risen 12% this year.