Quoted from http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-11-01/novartis-officials-hid-risks-of-bone-drugs-aredia-and-zometa-lawyer-says.html
Novartis Downplayed Risk of Bone Drugs on Cancer Patients, Lawyer Says
By Jef Feeley and Jerry Adams - Nov 1, 2010 7:39 PM ET
Novartis AG officials downplayed risks that the drugmaker’s bone-strengthening medicines Aredia and Zometa could destroy patients’ jaws, a lawyer for a woman suing the company told a North Carolina jury.
Officials of the Basel, Switzerland-based drug company got reports from doctors as early as 2002 that Rita Fussman and other cancer patients taking Aredia and Zometa to prevent bone loss during treatment suffered irreplaceable jawbone damage, Bob Germany, a lawyer for Fussman’s family, said in opening statements in a trial over the medicines. Fussman died in 2009 of complications from breast cancer.
Fussman’s family contends Novartis didn’t adequately warn that Aredia and Zometa could cause disfiguring jaw damage that forced cancer patients such as Fussman to subsist on baby food, Germany told jurors in federal court in Winston-Salem.
Patients and their doctors “were not told the whole story about these drugs,” Germany said. “In fact, we were not told half the story.”
The Fussman family’s lawsuit is the third product-liability case to go to trial over the bone-strengthening treatments, which had 2009 sales of $1.5 billion, according to Novartis’s annual report. Both drugs are still on the market.