Thursday, October 06, 2011

Merck Wins Another Fosamax Lawsuit

Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (ONJ)

This particular lawsuit was about the use of Fosamax, an oral bisphosphonate drug, and osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ).
Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today said a federal court jury in New York found in its favor in the Secrest v. Merck case, rejecting the claim of a Florida woman who blamed her dental and jaw-related problems on her FOSAMAX use.

"We believe the company acted properly," said Chilton Varner of King & Spalding LLP, outside counsel for Merck. "Unfortunately, the plaintiff had medical problems that cause people to develop the jaw and dental problems that the plaintiff has, regardless of whether they were taking FOSAMAX. She has a long history of invasive dental procedures and suffers from medical conditions that inhibit the body's ability to heal."

Today's verdict marks the fourth time a jury has found in Merck's favor on a plaintiff's product liability claim in the litigation regarding FOSAMAX. The plaintiff in this case alleged she used FOSAMAX and suffered various jaw problems and complications following multiple tooth extractions and failed dental implants.

At trial, Merck presented evidence that it acted responsibly in researching and developing FOSAMAX and in monitoring the medicine since it has been on the market, and that FOSAMAX is a safe and effective medication as described in the product labeling that was properly designed and did not cause the plaintiff's dental and jaw problems. The company's clinical trials, conducted both before and following approval, have involved more than 28,000 patients, including more than 17,000 treated with FOSAMAX.

"Merck is pleased with the jury's verdict," said Bruce N. Kuhlik, executive vice president and general counsel of Merck. "We have now won four of the first five cases that have been tried to verdict. We continue to believe that FOSAMAX is a safe and effective medication and the company provided appropriate and timely information about FOSAMAX to consumers and to the medical, scientific and regulatory communities."

U. S. District Judge John F. Keenan presided over the trial. Merck is represented by Chilton Varner of King & Spalding LLP in Atlanta, Andrew Goldman of Goldman Ismail Tomaselli Brennan & Baum LLP in Chicago and Stephen Marshall of Venable LLP in Baltimore.
This suit was all about this particular woman and her pre-existing dental condition and if Fosamax was the proximte cause of her injuries. The jury said no.

But, there is an awarenenss of ONJ occurring with patients that take oral bisphosphonates and I recommend to all dental patients to please consult with your physician and dentist, if you are taking the medication and must have teeth extractions or other surgical dental procedures.

What is the state of the many lawsuits against Merck?
This is the fifth case regarding FOSAMAX® (alendronate sodium) to go to trial. Merck won three of the first four. The first three trials were conducted as part of the federal multidistrict litigation proceedings before Judge Keenan. 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 was later reduced by Judge Keenan and which Merck intends to appeal after the damages portion of the case is retried. The third case to be tried to a verdict, Graves v. Merck, resulted in a defense verdict for Merck in November 2010. The fourth case to go to trial, Rosenberg v. Merck, which was tried in the Superior Court for Atlantic County, New Jersey, resulted in a defense verdict for Merck in February 2011.

As of June 30, 2011, approximately 1,650 cases, which include approximately 2,050 plaintiff groups, had been filed and were pending against Merck in either federal or state court.

No comments:

Post a Comment