Alabama federal court agrees with summary judgment finding for Novartis in the Aredia®/Zometa® litigation.

05/11/15

AL

M.D. Ala. -- United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama

Complex Litigation

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The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama granted summary judgment for Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation in Collins v. Novartis Pharm. Corp., No. 2:08-CV-438 MHT-PWG (M.D. Ala. May 11, 2015).  Judge Myron H. Thompson agreed with the magistrate’s finding that the cancer medication, Aredia®, was clearly fit for its intended purpose, and that therefore plaintiff’s sole claim of breach of implied warranty of merchantability should be dismissed.

Plaintiff Charles Collins alleged that he developed osteonecrosis of the jaw (“ONJ”) as a result of his use of the bisphosphonate medication, Aredia®, which “is effective in preventing or delaying serious complications in multiple myeloma patients including fractures, spinal cord compression, and related pain.”  Report and Recommendation (R&R) at 4.  Mr. Collins was prescribed Aredia® in 2001 and continued to take Aredia® until May 2004.

The court held that “Mr. Collins has produced no admissible evidence to suggest that Aredia® is not fit for its intended commercial purposes.”  R&R at 18. The court relied in part on the prescribing doctor’s testimony that “the benefits outweigh the risks and each and every doctor in the country uses it nowadays” in finding the “evidence overwhelming that the drug is fit for the purpose despite the fact that there are health hazards to some patients associated with the use of Aredia®.”  R&R at 17.  The court reasoned that where the drug is fit for its intended purpose “this presumption of merchantability cannot be overcome merely by demonstrating that there are risks associated with the use by a particular group of patients.”  R&R at 18.

This case was part of the ongoing Aredia® and Zometa® multidistrict litigation, In re: Aredia® and Zometa® Prods. Liab. Litig., No. 3:06-MD- 01760 (TJC) (M.D. Tenn.), and had been remanded to the Middle District of Alabama.

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