A federal jury has awarded $250,000 to a Florida couple who claimed Novartis Pharmaceuticals failed to adequately warn of the risk of osteonecrosis of the jaw from taking the bone strengthening drug Zometa. The Plaintiff, J. Hunter Chiles III, will receive $200,000 in compensatory damages. The case was tried in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida in Jacksonville, Fla. The jury also awarded $50,000 to Mr. Chiles’ wife for loss of consortium.
In 2006, the Plaintiff filed product liability claims against Novartis in federal court. According to the complaint, Mr. Chiles took Zometa between April 2003 and March 2005 to prevent bone loss during cancer treatment. He then developed osteonecrosis of the jaw. Osteonecrosis is bone death resulting from poor blood supply to an area of the bone. Zometa contains bisphosphonate, which is intended to strengthen bones. But medical studies indicated in early 2003 that there was a link between Zometa and osteonecrosis of the jaw.
Novartis didn’t begin warning health professionals of the risk until May 2005. The jury rejected the negligent failure-to-warn claim but found that Novartis was subject to strict liability because Zometa was defective due to the lack of adequate warnings. The jury did not award for punitive damages in the case. The jury’s verdict was unanimous and was reached after eight hours of deliberation. The lawsuit was once part of the Zometa and Aredia multidistrict litigation in the Middle District of Tennessee before being remanded to the Middle District of Florida in 2011. In November, a federal jury in New York awarded $10.5 million to a woman who said she developed necrosis of the jaw from taking Zometa.
Source: Lawyers USA Online
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