Fosamax Jaw Injury Litigation News

Alexander Popovich | September 3rd, 2013

Medical Device Legal FundingMerck’s controversial osteoporosis medication Fosamax has been the topic of heated litigation over the past seven years. The drug has been tied to severe jaw problems, including bone and tissue necrosis, forcing many patients to endure costly surgeries and treatments. At present, the pharmaceutical giant is defending its medication in nearly 1,000 products liability complaints, which have been coordinated for pre-trial proceedings before the Honorable John F. Keegan in New York District Court. A form of consolidated litigation, the Fosamax MDL merges federal cases containing similar issues of fact and allegations concerning the drug’s adverse side effects.

In a recent order, Judge Keegan denied Merck’s request for the court to issue a “Lone Pine” order, an act that would have forced claimants who took Fosamax for less than 12 months to supply evidence and further testimony to support their claims against the defendant. This would apply to plaintiffs who were not yet diagnosed with osteonecrosis of the jaw, or if their exposure to the drug was more than three years before they sustained jaw damage.

Judge Keegan found that plaintiffs’ medical records are not always construed in the same manner, and that the court could not effectively identify those without a diagnosis of osteonecrosis of the jaw (OJN).  The MDL judge also failed to see any purpose for the Lone Pine order as the court had already determined that juries would believe that Fosamax may contribute to ONJ and the standard definition of the condition is not predicated on prior exposure to the drug for a minimum period of time.

As the pre-trial process has concluded and claimants have yet to reach settlements with Merck, many are pushing to have their cases sent back to their original courts for individual hearings, in hopes of securing a jury award or settlement. With such complex litigation, it will likely take months or even years before Fosamax lawsuit plaintiffs see a dime of compensation.

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