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Inconclusive trial in Fosamax case

A mistrial has been declared in the first case to reach court involving claims that Fosamax caused obsteonecrosis of the jaw

Merck & Co has announced that a US district court judge has declared a mistrial in the first case to reach court involving claims that Fosamax (alendrionate) caused obsteonecrosis of the jaw.

 After a month of deliberations in New York City, the forewoman of the jury announced that jurors would be unable to reach a unamnimous verdict. Apparently, the jury notes presented to the presiding judge included one that indicated that seven of the eight jurors agreed that "there was no evidence of proof" that Fosamax caused the plaintiff's injury. Additionally, the holdout juror accused the others of intimidation.

Judge John F Keenan declared a mistrial in the case, involving plaintiff Shirley Boles who had alleged she developed severe dental and jaw-related problems in 2003, six years after she began taking Fosamax. Boles' lawyer, Timothy O'Brien expects the case to be retried in the spring: "Obviously, she would like a resolution, but she feels like she's done something important and she's ready to go again," he said.

A lawyer for Merck, Paul Strain said: "This demonstrates what we've been saying all along, that is that Fosamax is a good medicine." 

Strain and his team argued that, in Boles' case, other factors were to blame. Their exterior doctor testified that since the early 1990s, Boles had suffered worsening infections in the jaw bone and eventually moved into the interior of the bone and eroded it.

Merck faces lawsuits by roughly 1,500 plaintiffs who allege Fosamax caused the same painful jaw condition, osteonecrosis of the jaw, in which bone tissue dies and detaches from the gum.

14th September 2009

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