Quoted from http://www.missoulian.com/news/local/article_5925bf88-be6d-11de-bc95-001cc4c03286.html
Missoula woman awarded $3.2M in lawsuit against maker of bone-strengthening drug Zometa
By TRISTAN SCOTT of the Missoulian | Posted: Wednesday, October 21, 2009 11:05 pm
Jurors slapped a Swiss pharmaceutical company with a $3.2 million verdict Wednesday, wrapping up a Missoula woman's lawsuit that will have bearing on hundreds of cases against the company nationwide.
The jury of six men and six women received the case Tuesday afternoon and deliberated for six hours before retiring for the evening. The panel reconvened Wednesday morning and reached a verdict after less than two hours.
The case, tried over five days, involves claims by Peggy L. Stevens, 57, of Missoula. She filed suit against Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. last year, alleging the company was professionally negligent when it failed to disclose health risks associated with one of its medications, a bone-strengthening drug called Zometa.
Stevens has lymphoma and developed serious dental and jaw-related problems after taking the drug for several years. Her attorneys say the company knew patients taking Zometa were vulnerable to a degenerative jaw disorder called osteonecrosis, particularly those patients who undergo invasive dental procedures, like a tooth extraction.
Doctors in Missoula administered the drug to Stevens intravenously for three years before she had a tooth pulled in 2007 and developed the disease. Its symptoms include pain, loosening of teeth, exposed bone and infection.
On a national level, Novartis faces lawsuits from approximately 550 plaintiffs whose cases have been consolidated in a Tennessee federal court and a New Jersey state court. The first of those cases is slated for trial in March 2010 in New Jersey.