HRT breast cancer case thrown out of court

March 10, 2016

Patricia Zandi blames her use of the HRT drugs Premarin and Prempro for her breast cancer; the drugs are manufactured by drug company Wyeth.

Judge George F. McGunnigle of state district court in Minnesota dismissed the product liability lawsuit against Wyeth on the grounds that Zandi did not show scientific proof that this was actually the case.

Judge McGunnigle said in his dismissal of the case that Zandi, had not offered any scientifically valid evidence to support her claim that she had developed breast cancer as a result using Wyeth's Premarin and Prempro.

The court concluded that "the scientific community has not accepted that breast cancer has a limited number of discrete and recognized possible causes such that ruling out one cause would implicate another."

The case had been scheduled to go to trial in January but Wyeth is still facing more than 5,000 lawsuits from those who believe they were harmed by the hormone replacement drugs, which have been used by millions of women to control the effects of menopause.

The drugs remain on the market and earned Wyeth more than 1 billion dollars last year.

It has already been shown that folic acid forticifation can exhibit Jekyll and Hyde characteristics, providing protection in some people while causing harm to others. For example, studies have confirmed that unmetabolised folic acid accelerates cognitive decline in the elderly with low vitamin B12 status, while those with normal vitamin B12 status may be protected against cognitive impairment. Most over 65s in the UK have low B12 status.

Similarly, dietary folates have a protective effect against cancer, but folic acid supplementation may increase the incidence of bowel cancer. It may also increase the incidence of breast cancer in postmenopausal women.

Since the 1980s a consensus formed that that folic acid is metabolised in the small intestine in a similar way to naturally-occuring folates. This consensus was used to assess the safety of folic acid fortification.

"We challenge the underlying scientific premise behind this consensus", said Dr Astley. "This has important implications for the use of folic acid in fortification, because even at low doses it could lead to over consumption of folic acid with its inherent risks".