12162017Headline:

Charlotte, North Carolina

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Greg Jones
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Fosamax Trial ends in Mistrial

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The first trial over Merck & Co. Inc.’s osteoporosis drug Fosamax has ended in a mistrial Friday after the jury told the court it was deadlocked and unable to reach a unanimous verdict.

The mistrial came two days after the judge, ordered a daylong break from deliberations as reports emerged of tension among the eight jurors.

The Plaintiff’s lawyer moved for the mistrial Friday morning, said jurors could be heard shouting during deliberations.

The judge ordered a “cooling off” period on Wednesday after two notes were sent from the jury room indicating that tempers were flaring after nearly a week of negotiations, with one juror claiming to have been bullied and threatened.

The Boles trial was the first of three bellwether trials scheduled to take place in the multidistrict litigation over Fosamax.

Boles, a 71-year-old Florida woman, claims she developed osteonecrosis of the jaw, a disease where the jawbone partially rots. She claims Merck overstated the drug’s benefits and concealed its harmful effects.

The drugmaker faces roughly 900 Fosamax product liability cases nationwide, consisting of about 1,280 total plaintiff groups, according to the company.

Merck changed Fosamax’s label in 2005 at the urging of the U.S. FDA to warn patients of the potential risks associated with the drug.

The Plaintiffs attorney expected a retrial would be scheduled for next year.