This past Monday, a New York federal judge denied Big Pharma’s Merck & Co Inc.’s attempt to avoid paying $285,000 to plaintiff in a multi-district lawsuit based on the fact that the bone drug Fosamax causes jaw deterioration. Merck’s argument was that its warning label was adequate, but the judge didn’t buy it.
In February, the jury determined that Merck did not adequately warn plaintiff Rhoda Scheinberg that using Fosamax could cause osteonecrosis of the jaw. Of course, Merck claimed its label warned of the risk of this exact condition. However, Judge John Keenan ruled on the side of the plaintiff and rejected Merck’s motion, stating that “a warning is not automatically sufficient simply because it includes certain magic words. The quality of the warning matters.” Dr. Suzanne Parisian, an expert for Scheinberg, said the Fosamax label didn’t include information about the drugs limited effectiveness, and she wouldn’t have prescribed it if the label had warned that the longer you use it, the greater your chances of getting ONJ. Additionally, the language of the warning didn’t meet the standards proposed by the FDA, although makers of similar drugs had adopted that language on their labels.
In addition to the ONJ lawsuit, Merck literally faces thousands of lawsuits alleging Fosamax causes femur fractures. However last week, Merck won a ruling in this litigation when a New Jersey federal judge ruled that claims Merck failure to warn consumers about the risk of femur fractures are preempted by federal law. That was a win for Merck, but hopefully this and other Big Pharma companies will ultimately pay dearly for their wrongdoings – sooner than later.
If you or someone you care about has sustained injuries from a Fosamax, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the attorneys at Reyes | Browne | Reilley at 214-526-7900, or submit the short case review form on the right. Remember – You’re under no obligation to use our services, and we charge nothing if you do not win your case.