A Brief Look at the History of Merck’s Alendronate Lawsuits

04/08/2012 04:12


In the ongoing legal controversy over Merck’s osteoporosis drug Fosamax and the complications experienced by patients who have taken the medication, mainstream media continue to document the developing events concerning the lawsuits over this popular osteoporosis drug, industry analysts noted.   In the past decade complaints of cases against the pharmaceutical manufacturer over Fosamax’ side effects have accumulated and in the last few years from 2009, court hearings have been tried and continue to come forward by plaintiffs seeking recompense over damages from receiving Fosamax prescriptions. 
In early 2000 the FDA began receiving reports of complications relating to Fosamax therapy which were confirmed in later research findings that documented these side effects experienced by patients. The main complaints in these cases are osteonecrosis of the jaw and atypical femur fractures, which have lead to numerous lawsuits and recently esophageal cancer is speculated as another possible complication that might also lead to more court cases against Merck. 
In six bellwether cases involving Merck and their popular osteoporosis medication Fosamax, plaintiffs have alleged that the pharmaceutical company is responsible for causing osteonecrosis of the jaw from taking the bone strengthening drug.  At present, there are 2,800 plaintiff groups that have filed over 2,345 pending lawsuits against Merck.  Judicial authorities have been prompted by the overwhelming number of cases against Merck to combine and group a majority of cases in multi-district litigation proceedings to better and more efficiently hear cases altogether rather than individually. 
Merck’s official position regarding these complaints is that there is no definitive evidence linking Fosamax as the cause of the complications listed in the lawsuits despite the FDA ordering the drug company to upgrade their warning labels for osteonecrosis of the jaw and atypical bone fractures to warn consumers. Towards this end Merck attempted to have other Fosamax cases concerning osteonecrosis of the jaw dismissed but was denied by the presiding judge. 
As of now, more cases continue to be brought forward with the most recent news report on a New Jersey judge’s decision that opted to try a case involving atypical femur fracture instead of another case of osteonecrosis of the jaw. Experts have speculated that more cases will come to light over other Fosamax complications against Merck with no end yet in sight for either the drug manufacturer or the plaintiffs. 



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