Jury awards $10.45 million for in Zometa lawsuit over woman’s jawbone damage

A New York jury found Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. liable for $10.45 million in damages to a woman who took the drug Zometa. The jury awarded the woman $450,000 in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages.

Zometa, a bisphosphonate, is a treatment for bone complications that can result from cancer. The plaintiff, Barbara Davids, had been prescribed the drug as part of her treatment for breast cancer. Her lawsuit alleged that she developed osteonecrosis, or bone death, in her jaw after taking Zometa.

Evidence was presented that suggests Novartis knew about the risk of jaw decay with Zometa years before it began warning patients. For example, the jury was shown an internal Novartis email from a marketing executive at the drug company that seems to suggest the company suppressed a report indicating that Zometa was linked to jaw damage: “In summary: we’ll try to avoid that the paper is ever published; we will be ready to react in case it gets published,” the employee said in the e-mail.

In 2010, a jury awarded a North Carolina woman’s family a $12.8 million verdict in a jawbone osteonecrosis case involving Novartis and the drug Zometa. The award was later reduced to about $1.1 million under state law.

The claims against Novartis regarding Zometa are similar to hundreds of jaw necrosis lawsuits that have been filed against Merck regarding their oral bisphosphonate medication Fosamax.

Heygood, Orr & Pearson: Fighting For Safe Drugs and Fighting For You

If you or a loved one has experienced jawbone damage or osteonecrosis of the jaw (jaw necrosis) after taking bisphosphonates, such as alendronate (Fosamax) or zoledronic acid (Zometa), you and your family deserve answers to your questions. If the injury was as a result of a defective drug, you have the right to demand that the drug company be held responsible.

Contact the law firm Heygood, Orr & Pearson for a free consultation so we can help you determine the best way to protect your legal rights and interests. You can reach us by calling our toll-free hotline at 1-877-446-9001, or by filling out our free online case evaluation form.


Case results depend upon a variety of factors unique to each case. Results of other cases do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any future case.

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