Major Victory For Injured Zometa Patients As Court Shoots Down Novartis' Preemption Argument

Consumers injured by Novartis Pharmaceutical's bone-strengthening drugs, Zometa and Aredia, got a major victory recently after a federal court ruled that the drug maker could not claim that product liability lawsuits alleging the drugs caused patients to develop severe jaw deterioration were preempted by state law.

Defective & unreasonably dangerous products

Zometa (zoledronic acid) and Aredia (pamidronate disodium), both bisphosphonate drugs, have been linked to Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (ONJ) – a debilitating condition known as jaw death. Nearly 600 product liability lawsuits against Novartis are pending in courts around the nation.

Novartis has claimed that some of those lawsuits are preempted by state laws because a product may not be defective or unreasonably dangerous if it complies with certain codes, regulations and standards.. However, the federal U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, where the Zometa MDL (multi-district litigation) is pending, recently put the drug company's argument to rest. It said:

Plaintiffs here argue that they can rebut this presumption by showing that these products were defective and unreasonably dangerous. Despite [Novartis'] assertion that [the plaintiffs] have no evidence that could overcome the presumption, [the plaintiffs] offer a myriad of evidence in support of their position.

What the ruling means is that pending Zometa ONJ injury lawsuits will move forward. However, some Zometa lawsuits have already gone to trial – and yielded large verdicts.

$3.2M Zometa verdict A Montana jury awarded $3.2 million to a Zometa injury victim after she developed ONJ. Like others, this victim took the drug without being warned that she was at an increased risk of having their teeth die and fall out, their jaw die or become more susceptible to infection.

That verdict, along with the Tennessee Court's ruling, may set the stage for the other manufacturers who are defending bisphosphonate lawsuits across the nation. Those include:

  • Actonel – (risedronate sodium) manufactured by Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals and Sanofi Pharmaceuticals.
  • Boniva – (ibandronate sodium) manufactured by Roche and GlaxoSmithKline
  • Didronel – (etidronate disodium) manufactured by Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals
  • Fosamax – (alendronate sodium) manufactured by Merck & Company.
  • Reclast – (zoledronic acid) manufactured by Novartis Pharmaceuticals
  • Skelid – (tiludronate) manufactured by Sanofi Pharmaceuticals

Have you been injured?

If you've been injured due to Zometa or another bisphosphonate drug, contact an experienced Zometa attorney to discuss your situation. He or she can explain how the process works, what statute of limitations apply to your situation and the damages for which you might be entitled.