$10.5 Million Award for Jawbone Death Caused by Cancer Drug

Posted November 12, 2012 in Jury Awards Products Liability by


Barbara Davids was prescribed the drug Zometa to treat bone complications as part of her treatment for breast cancer. Davids later developed osteonecrosis, or “bone death” in her jaw bone.

 According to her lawsuit against Novartis, the company that makes Zometa, the drug caused her jaw bone injury and the company hid what it knew about the link between its drug and the disease.

Davids’ attorney, John Vecchione, showed the jury an email from a Novartis marketing employee discussing a report linking Zometa to jaw bone disease and called it “quite damaging.” In another email, the employee tells colleagues to deal with the negative news by avoiding that the paper was ever published and countering the paper with a public relations strategy, according to Vecchione.

The jury awarded Davids $450,000 in compensatory damages and another $10 million in punitive damages.

Attorney John Vecchione

“What’s happening is these juries are seeing very bad behavior,” said Vecchione of Valad & Vecchione. “These juries are finding this evidence particularly egregious.”

Novartis said the company is disappointed and disagrees with the jury’s verdict and is reviewing its options for appeal.

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