Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The 4th Merck FOSAMAX Osteonecrosis Suit Goes to Trial

Merck, the large drug manufacturer says it will vigorously defend itself from this suit.
Merck will vigorously defend itself in a jury trial set to begin today in the Superior Court for Atlantic County, New Jersey. The company believes the evidence will show that FOSAMAX did not cause the plaintiff to develop dental and jaw-related problems as she claims and that Merck provided appropriate and timely information about FOSAMAX to the medical, scientific and regulatory communities.

In Rosenberg v. Merck, the plaintiff alleges she used FOSAMAX from 1999 to 2006. The plaintiff further alleges she suffered various jaw problems and complications following a tooth extraction in December 2005.

"Unfortunately, the plaintiff had medical problems that cause people to develop jaw problems, regardless of whether they were taking FOSAMAX" said Christy Jones of Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens & Cannada PLLC, outside counsel for Merck. "She had an extensive history of periodontal and endodontic treatments and she took a number of powerful steroid medications that are known to suppress the body’s immune system and inhibit the body’s ability to heal. The evidence will show that the plaintiff would have experienced dental and jaw-related problems whether she took FOSAMAX or not"

Judge Carol E. Higbee of the Superior Court for Atlantic County, New Jersey will preside over the trial.
The legal and dental community will be watching this trial closely since there are many claims/suits pending and the previous three suits had mixed results.
This is the fourth FOSAMAX case to go to trial. The first three trials were conducted as part of the federal multidistrict litigation proceedings before Judge John F. Keenan in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The first case to be tried to a verdict, Maley v. Merck, resulted in a defense verdict for Merck in May 2010. The second case to be tried to a verdict, Boles v. Merck, initially resulted in a mistrial in September 2009 after the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict. A retrial of that case in June 2010 resulted in a plaintiff verdict, which has since been reduced by Judge Keenan and which Merck is appealing. The third case to be tried to a verdict, Graves v. Merck, resulted in a defense verdict for Merck in November 2010. As of September 30, 2010, approximately 1,180 cases, which include approximately 1,560 plaintiff groups, had been filed and were pending against Merck in either federal or state court.
Organized dentistry responded to reported problems and a cause for alarm was sounded back in 2009.

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