In 2006, the woman alleged that she developed osteonecrosis, or “bone death,” in her jaw after being prescribed Zometa as part of her treatment for breast cancer. Zometa is a bisphosphonate used to treat bone complications that can result from cancer, according to Bloomberg News.
According to the plaintiff’s attorney, in May 2003 at least one Novartis marketing employee knew of a proposed report that linked Zometa to jawbone complications, and in an e-mail the worker described it as “quite damaging.” In another e-mail, which the attorney provided as evidence in the trial, the same employee proposed a strategy for damage control and proposed that a public relations effort be implemented to offset any negative news associated with the drug.
“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.
The jury awarded the woman $450,000 in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages. This is the second largest award in a Zometa-related jawbone osteonecrosis case. The family of a North Carolina woman was awarded $12.5 million in 2010, but that award was knocked down to $1.1 million under state law.
A spokeswoman for the Swiss-based drug company said that it is reviewing options for an appeal.
Have you suffered an injury due to a drug’s side effects? The Florida pharmaceutical litigation attorneys at Farah & Farah can help. Call us at (800) 533-3555 for a confidential and complimentary look at your case. You may be entitled to compensation for your drug side effects.