Fosamax Causes Osteonecrosis Of The Jaw
The verdict is in on the bellwether Fosamax case and a New York jury has awarded $8 million in damages ($3 million more than the suit had requested) to plaintiff Shirley Boles, a woman who suffered osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) from side effects of Fosamax use. The jury decided that Fosamax was a defectively designed product, and returned the increased award.
This verdict is a win for consumers and paves the way for over 900 cases claiming osteonecrosis of the jaw caused by Fosamax. Unfortunately, due to the drugs cumulative negative effects when taken for over three years, individuals will continue to develop osteonecrosis of the jaw.
Fosamax Caused Her ONJ
The plaintiff, 72-year-old Shirley Boles, is a retired deputy from the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office who testified that her doctor prescribed Fosamax when she suffered a stress fracture in her foot. Eventually, problems developed in her mouth and then she developed osteonecrosis of the jaw caused by Fosamax.
Boles claims that Merck knew of the risks as early as 1996. She alleges that the company should have warned patients and doctors earlier than it did. Several manufacturers of bisphosphonates, including Merck, changed the drug’s labeling in 2005 to include a revised warning about the risks associated with their use.
Bole’s lawyer alleges that Merck didn’t use the correct label language, as the other companies did, as requested by the FDA. Merck asserts that it acted correctly and provided the required information. The company disputes the idea that Fosamax causes osteonecrosis of the jaw.
“We’re going to demonstrate that there’s no causal link between Fosamax and the plaintiff’s injury,” a Merck lawyer told Bloomberg last year. “There isn’t any scientifically reliable evidence of causation.” We’ll see what the court thinks.
The turning point in the case may have come last September when the judge rejected Merck’s request to dismiss 24 cases alleging that its Fosamax drug treatment for osteoporosis causes jaw damage. Judge Keenan instead ruled that the plaintiffs could introduce testimony by two expert doctors to show that the drug can cause jaw damage after less than three years of continuous use.
Osteonecrosis Of The Jaw Symptoms
Keenan’s ruling said he could find no basis for restricting the “general causation” testimony of the two doctor experts, Alastair Goss and John Hellstein. Some of the warning signs of osteonecrosis of the jaw are:
- Pain in the Jaw
- Loose teeth
- Infection in the gums or jaw
- Gums that heal poorly
- Numbness or heaviness in the jaw
- Jaw bone exposed in the mouth
Judge Keenan found that the evidence was reliable enough to allow a jury to establish a rational connection between the damage and the cause of the damage. He then said each plaintiff will be allowed to present expert testimony that it was the Fosamax treatment that caused them to suffer the same damage. Keenan also said that such testimony could by itself “make causation a genuine issue of fact for trial.” In light of this finding Merck may find itself in a difficult to defend position.
Contact Personal Injury Lawyer
For more information on Fosamax and osteonecrosis of the jaw click here,osteonecrosis of the jaw. If you or a loved one have been prescribed Fosamax and you are experiencing any warning signs for osteonecrosis of the jaw please contact a qualified personal injury lawyer today at The Law Offices of Nadrich & Cohen, we can help you.