8th Circuit Affirms Pharmaceutical Failure to Warn Verdict
The Eighth Circuit affirmed a failure to warn verdict against Novartis this week even though the doctor prescribing the bone drugs said he didn't read the drug warnings. Plaintiff claimed that Novartis failed to warn that her use of Aredia and Zometa could cause her to develop osteonecrosis of the jaw, also known as jaw death. Novartis argued that the verdict could not be supported by the evidence because her physician testified that he didn't read the drug warnings.
However, the Court concluded that their was evidence that the doctor had knowledge of the warnings through other means including continuing medical education, review of medical literature, discussion with other physicians and statements by Novartis' sales representatives. The Court concluded that a reasonable jury could conclude that the doctor had knowledge of the drug's risks and had breached his legal duty to warn the patient of those risks. It also concluded that the law of Missouri applied to the case for punitive damages rather than the law of New Jersey where Novartis was based.