A U.S. federal jury found that a bone drug made by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp was not to blame for the severe jaw deterioration developed by a Rhode Island man who died of cancer in 2005.
Karleen Hogan, the widow of Timothy Hogan, claimed in a lawsuit filed in 2006 that Novartis had failed to properly warn her husband about the severe adverse effects caused by Zometa, a drug used to strengthen bones in cancer patients. She sought compensatory damages for her husband’s suffering.
The suit is one of an estimated 600 filed against the unit of Novartis AG in recent years blaming the company for suppressing information about adverse effects linked to Zometa and Aredia, another bone-strengthening drug.
I think what helped the defendants in this case was the testimony from the patient’s physican and dentist who said he had pre-exisiting dental problems and that the benefits of the drug outweighed the risks.
But, there is a mixed record on these suits and there will be more to come.
Hogan’s case was initially consolidated with hundreds of Zometa and Aredia liability suits in multi-district litigation in Tennessee federal court. Similar litigation is also pending in a state court in New Jersey.
Hogan’s is the fourth Zometa case to go to trial. In October 2010, a New Jersey superior court jury ruled in favor of Novartis. A jury in Montana state court awarded a plaintiff with the same jaw disease $3.2 million in October 2009, and in November, a federal jury in North Carolina awarded a North Carolina woman’s family $12.8 million, later reduced to $1.26 million.
Osteonecrosis of the Jaw Associated With Bisphosphonate Agent Zoledronic Acid and Chemotherapy Combined With the Antiangiogenic Agent Bevacizumab