Aredia, Zometa Jaw Necrosis Lawsuits Will Proceed, Judges Rule
A federal judge and a New Jersey judge have cleared the way for about 200 Aredia and Zometa jaw necrosis lawsuits against Novartis Corp. to move forward to trial, rejecting the drug maker’s attempts to dismiss the cases.
The rulings, by U.S. District Judge Todd Campbell in Tennessee and New Jersey Superior Court Judge Jessica Mayer, affect 40 federal cases from Florida and 150 New Jersey lawsuits, respectively. The Aredia lawsuits and Zometa lawsuits were filed by people who say that Novartis’ bone-strengthening drugs caused osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ), which involves a painful and disfiguring decay of the jaw bone. The cases are just a small portion of the hundreds of ONJ lawsuits filed against the company, primarily for Zometa.
Novartis attempted to have the cases dismissed, but both judges determined that there is sufficient evidence for plaintiffs’ claims that the drugs’ labeling downplayed health risks to be brought to trial. The requests for summary judgment were denied and the cases can now move forward.
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Zometa (zoledronic acid) is a treatment that is used to reduce bone complications associated with multiple myeloma and bone metastases from solid tumors. Although it is used to strengthen bones, it is part of a class of medications known as bisphosphonates, which have been associated with decay of the jawbone. The Zometa jaw necrosis lawsuits allege that Novartis failed to adequately warn about the risk of damage to the jaw.
There are about 600 Aredia and Zometa suits, which have all been consolidated and centralized in U.S. District Court in Nashville as part of a multidistrict litigation, or MDL, for pretrial proceedings. Another 150 lawsuits are being handled by state courts in New Jersey.
In October, Novartis lost the first Zometa trial when a Montana jury awarded $3.2 million to Peggy L. Stevens, 57, who suffered ONJ after using the drug. Stevens took Zometa for three years while she battled lymphoma.
The case was seen by many as a “bellwether” test case for how juries would respond to evidence and witness testimony that will likely be similar to that offered in future lawsuits over Zometa. The Missoula County District Court jury deliberated for only about eight hours before returning the multi-million dollar decision against Novartis.
The Zometa lawsuits are similar to more than 900 Fosamax jaw necrosis lawsuits that are pending against Merck & Co. over their oral bisphosphonate medication. Fosamax is used to reduce the risk of bone fractures associated with osteoporosis, but has also been linked to an increased risk of jaw osteonecrosis.
NormanJanuary 22, 2022 at 10:43 pm
Hi my name is Norman I was recently diagnosed with DIONJ by my orthodontist after using the drug Zometa for the past 10 years on and off. This is very painful, I am currently taking antibiotics and awaiting posible operation to remove what they call dead jawbone. I want to know if I am qualified to file a claim against the makers of Zometa. Thanks.
shirleyDecember 5, 2016 at 5:16 am
I had to have my lower jawbone replaced due to dead jaw syndrome from injections of aredia
shirleyMarch 3, 2016 at 5:30 pm
I had to have my lower jawbone replaced due to dead jaw sydrome from the use of Artesia for several years
shirleyJanuary 9, 2015 at 10:21 am
I have onj and had to have jaw surgery 2012 February
RobertNovember 11, 2010 at 5:05 pm
My wife elaine had her upper jaw bone removed due to Aredia injections and we moved from new york to florida and lost all papers on the class action suit and the lawyers who are representing her.
RonNovember 8, 2010 at 9:42 pm
In Sept. 2001 my wife started Aerida because her cancer spread into her sternum. She was on Aerida until spring of 2007. She started having problems with what she thought was her teeth at the time and had about 5 root canals done. Her doctor then switched her onto Zometa, which she took for the next 2 years. The Zometa only made it worse because her teeth were falling out and she noticed that h[Show More]In Sept. 2001 my wife started Aerida because her cancer spread into her sternum. She was on Aerida until spring of 2007. She started having problems with what she thought was her teeth at the time and had about 5 root canals done. Her doctor then switched her onto Zometa, which she took for the next 2 years. The Zometa only made it worse because her teeth were falling out and she noticed that her upper jawbone was exposed. We later found out that it isn’t recommended to do any oral surgery because it only makes the disease progress faster. It was way too late though, the holes got to about quarter sized and food would get stuck and she had to be on 2 different antibiotics at all times to keep the infection away. We have pictures of her mouth that an oral surgeon took. The doctor from Loyola who was keeping her infection at bay also told us that if it came to it, he would come to bat for her because the ONJ was so bad and something needed to be done for her.
FreddiSeptember 14, 2010 at 7:02 pm
I am interested in the Zometa law suits filed in N.J. Would you know the name of the class action attorney handling this for N.J.
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