Merck accused of concealing risks of Fosamax

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An attorney representing a Fosamax claimant alleges that Merck was aware of the risk of spontaneous fractures in Fosamax users for as long as five years before Fosamax was introduced to the market. “This company should have warned of the problems that they saw coming. The company should have warned of the problems they learned actually were happening,” said the plaintiff’s attorney of the dangerous drugs on the first day of trial.

About 3,300 lawsuits have been filed against Merck claiming that the bone drug caused femurs to fracture. The plaintiff in the current trial states that she suffered a femur fracture when she bent over to pick something up. This is the second Fosamax fracture lawsuit to come to trial. The first ended in a mistrial last month after the plaintiff suffered a heart attack.

In 2010, a study was published that warned of the potential risk of atypical femur fractures in patients using Fosamax and other bisphosphonate drugs. After reviewing the data, the FDA added warnings to the labels of the drugs and cautioned physicians regarding long-term use. In 2011, an advisory panel of the FDA also reviewed data regarding the risk of leg fractures.

In 2012, after reviewing a New England Journal of Medicine publication, the FDA stated that bisphosphonate drugs deliver limited – if any -benefit to the user after 3-5 years of use.

In addition to lawsuits alleging fractures, Merck faces over 1000 lawsuits alleging that Fosamax caused osteonecrosis of the jaw. A recent “bellwether” case was tried to a $285,000 verdict against Merck.

For more information, contact the Ohio Fosamax lawyers at Clark, Perdue & List.

Source: FiercePharma, “Merck kept mum on Fosamax’s fracture risks, trial lawyer says,” Tracy Staton, April 10, 2013.