Novartis Settles Zometa & Aredia Lawsuit
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Novartis Settles Zometa & Aredia Lawsuit 

By Mike Holter



(LEGAFI) -- Novartis has been ordered to pay $12.8 million to the family of a North Carolina woman who suffered jawbone damage as the result of taking the medications Zometa and Aredia as she was dying of breast cancer. The Zometa/Aredia settlement is the third lawsuit to go to trial over the Novartis meds, which hundreds of users claim cause osteonecrosis.


Novartis is reportedly facing about 700 lawsuits alleging that its drugs Zometa and Aredia lead to the death of jawbone tissue, a condition known as osteonecrosis. Ironically, Zometa and Aredia are marketed as bone-strengthening medications. In addition to strengthening bones and avoiding fractures, the medications are also prescribed to alleviate pain in bone-cancer patients.


Out of the three Zometa and Aredia osteonecrosis lawsuits that have gone to trial, only one has been rejected. In October 2009, however, Novartis was ordered to pay $3.2 million in damages to a cancer patient who claimed Zometa caused her to suffer jaw damage and that Novartis failed to adequately warn her about the risks of taking the medication. The woman’s attorney said Novartis knew about the risks of taking Zometa but downplayed the risks and obscured and delayed the release of information to the public and the medical community that would adequately warn them.  


Novartis isn’t the only drugmaker facing a slew of lawsuits over bone-strengthening medications that cause osteonecrosis. Merck & Co. is facing similar lawsuits from patients who claim the osteoporosis drug Fosamax deteriorates their jawbones. Earlier this year a Florida woman won $8 million after proving her jawbone damage was the result of taking Fosamax. As of June, Merck was facing nearly 900 Fosamax lawsuits in the U.S. and one proposed class action lawsuit in Canada. 



Updated December 1st, 2010

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