Wyeth is to appeal verdicts from a US court ruling involving its hormone replacement therapies Prempro and Premarin in which the jury has ordered the firm to pay more than $20 million in damages.

Last month the jury in Arkansas awarded Donna Scroggin, who blamed Prempro and Premarin (conjugated oestrogens) for her breast cancer, $2.75 million in compensatory damages against Wyeth and co-defendant Upjohn, a Pfizer unit that sold Provera (medroxyprogesterone). It has now said that she should receive almost $19.4 million in punitive damages from Wyeth and $7.8 million against Upjohn.

Wyeth attorney Lyn Pruitt said that “there is no basis in fact or law for this award or for the earlier compensatory damage award". She added that "we are confident in our position on appeal” and that the firm will pursue several post-trial motions in an effort to overturn the verdicts "and will ultimately appeal the entire case if necessary”.

Wyeth is facing around 5,300 lawsuits from people who claim they were harmed by the HRT drugs, but the firm argues that the risks associated with these therapies have been made clear to doctors and patients. Prempro and Premarin are still on the market.

Of the six other cases that have gone to trial and reached a verdict, four have resulted in wins for Wyeth, one was won by the plaintiff. A new trial has been ordered in another case, four other cases set for trial were dismissed by courts on summary judgment and a dozen others have been voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiffs before trial, Wyeth noted.