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St. Louis Federal Jury Returns Verdict for Novartis in Second Zometa Defense Verdict in a Week

news | February 1, 2012

On two consecutive days, two different federal juries returned defense verdicts in favor of Firm client Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation in trials arising out of the federal MDL litigation pending in the Middle District of Tennessee, In re Aredia and Zometa® Prods. Liab. Litig.

In February 2012, after less than two hours of deliberation, a 12-person jury in the Eastern District of Missouri returned a unanimous verdict in favor of Novartis, following a one and a half week trial.  In Brodie v. Novartis Pharm. Corp., plaintiff alleged that her deceased husband, John Brodie, developed osteonecrosis of the jaw (“ONJ”) as a result of his use of Novartis’s cancer drug Zometa and that defendant had failed to provide an adequate warning to his oncologist about the risk of ONJ.  Mr. Brodie’s oncologist testified that in 2005 he prescribed Zometa for Mr. Brodie to reduce the risk of developing painful and debilitating bone damage due to his prostate cancer, which had metastasized to the bone.  He further testified that he became aware of the risk of ONJ as a result of a “Dear Doctor” letter, which Novartis mailed to him in 2004 to notify him of revisions to the Zometa package insert.  Though plaintiff lodged various criticisms of Novartis’s label, the jury concluded that the warning to plaintiff’s oncologist was adequate based on what Novartis knew or should have known at the time and thus returned a verdict for the defense.

The previous day, after just over two hours of deliberation, an 11-person jury in the Western District of Kentucky, returned a unanimous verdict in favor of Novartis following a three-week trial.  In Kyle v. Novartis Pharm. Corp., the daughter of decedent Pamela Kyle alleged that Zometa caused her mother to develop ONJ.  Pamela Kyle’s oncologist prescribed Zometa to prevent painful and debilitating bone damage due to her breast cancer that had metastasized to her bones.  Plaintiff claimed that Novartis failed to warn that Zometa could cause ONJ but the jury found that Novartis provided an adequate warning.