4th Fosamax ONJ lawsuit going to trial

Another lawsuit against Merck alleging that its Fosamax bisphosphonate drug causes osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) will go to court beginning May 9, 2011, according to a story on aboutlawsuits.com.

The plaintiff, Carolyn Hester, 75, of Florida claims she was prescribed Fosamax in 1999 and subsequently developed ONJ, leading to "severe and permanent injury" and "life-long complications."

U.S. District Judge John Keenan is presiding over pretrial litigation for the federal Fosamax multidistrict litigation, which has been centralized in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Currently, about 1,000 similar cases are pending against Merck, all involving similar allegations that the drug maker failed to adequately warn about the risk of ONJ associated with Fosamax.

This is the fourth such case against Merck to be tried in court so far. The first case, Maley v. Merck, resulted in a defense verdict for Merck in May 2010. The second, Boles v. Merck, initially resulted in a mistrial in September 2009; a retrial in June 2010 resulted in a plaintiff verdict and a jury award of $8 million, which has since been reduced to $1.5 million. Last month, Merck prevailed in the third case, Graves v. Merck.

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