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Charlotte, North Carolina

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Greg Jones
Greg Jones
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Developments in the Bellwether Fosamax Case

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Merck & Co. Inc., the manufacturer of the osteoporosis drug Fosamax, has asked a federal judge to dismiss the remaining claims in a product liability and personal injury. The Plaintiff, Boles, a 71-year-old Florida woman, claims that Fosamax caused her to develop a degenerative bone disease known as osteonecrosis of the jaw, or ONJ. Further, the Plaintiff has moved for partial judgment on several of Merck’s affirmative defenses.

Both sides have asked the presiding Judge to rule on the motions before the jury could return a decision in this first case in a multidistrict litigation against Merck.

In its motion, Merck alleges the Plaintiff did not prove her failure to warn, personal injury, fraudulent misrepresentation or design defect claims because she could not demonstrate that she developed osteonecrosis of the jaw, or ONJ, prior to Oct. 1, 2003, and did not introduce any expert testimony to show that Fosamax was defectively designed.

Boles claims she developed ONJ, a disease where the jawbone partially rots, in 2003 after having taken Fosamax since 1999. The Plaintiff suit claims Merck overstated the drug’s benefits and concealed its harmful effects.

Approximately 900 Fosamax product liability cases remain nationwide, consisting of about 1,280 total plaintiff groups, according Merck.