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Merck Wins “Bellwether” Trial in Fosamax Femur Fracture MDL

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June 18, 2014 — Merck & Co. has won another lawsuit alleging that Fosamax, a popular osteoporosis drug, causes atypical femur fractures, according to Law360.

The case was selected as a “bellwether” trial in a Multi-District Litigation (MDL) involving about 3,300 similar cases. Members of the litigation accuse Merck of failing to warn that Fosamax increases the risk of atypical femur fractures.

However, U.S. District Judge Joel A. Pisano dismissed plaintiff Barbara Gaynor’s lawsuit and granted Merck summary judgement, ruling that Merck provided Gaynor with sufficient warnings about the risk of femur fractures. Merck updated the warning information for Fosamax in January 2011, and Gaynor’s claims arose after this time.

This is not the first time a jury has ruled in favor of Merck in the Fosamax MDL. Merck also won the first “bellwether” trial. The plaintiff, Bernadette Glynn, started using Fosamax in 2001 and took it until her femur fractured in April 2009. She filed a lawsuit in 2011 and her case was transferred into federal court in New Jersey. However, after her case went to trial, it took a jury only one hour and 20 minutes to rule in favor of Merck, according to LexisNexis.

Merck is also facing over 1,200 lawsuits alleging that Fosamax causes osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ), a disease that causes bone death. Those lawsuits are centralized in a separate MDL in federal court in New York.


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