Judge Rules Patients Must Disclose Use of Generic Fosamax in MDL
A New York federal judge ruled on Wednesday, December 18th, 2013, that plaintiffs in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) against Teva Pharmaceuticals must disclose whether or not they had used a generic form of Fosamax for bone building, in order to back up claims that the generic manufacturer’s failure to update the drug’s label led to jaw injuries.
On Monday, December 9th, pharmaceutical manufacturer Merck & Co, Inc agreed to pay $27.7 million to settle lawsuits from thousands of patients who allege that the bone-building drug Fosamax led to jaw bone deterioration. The MDL in New York will determine if generic Fosamax has the same effect, and if Teva Pharmaceuticals was negligent in its failure to update its label.
The trial is complicated because the FDA currently does not allow generic drug manufacturers to update their labels unless the brand name drug updates label information first. However, if a brand name drug updates information on its labels, the generic manufacturer must follow suit. Failure-to-update claims are currently one of the few ways that plaintiffs have to pursue personal injury claims against generic drug manufacturers. The FDA is currently discussing whether or not to change generic drug regulations because of the potential harm caused to consumers.
Teva filed a motion in August that all negligence and personal injury claims against the generic Fosamax manufacturer were preempted, except for so-called failure-to-update allegations. In the motion, Teva argued that the company could not be held responsible for personal injury, including jaw deterioration, and could only be held responsible for personal injury lawsuits that claimed it had failed to update its label to match Merck’s label for brand name Fosamax. The pharmaceutical company alleged that very few of the personal injury cases in the MDL accused the company of failure-to-update.
Teva requested that plaintiffs update their complaints to specify the time period in which they had taken generic Fosamax, to determine if they could claim failure-to-update. The judge agreed that it was not a burden for the plaintiffs to provide this information, and ordered their complaints to be updated.
Teva claims that a maximum of three months passed between Merck’s label change for Fosamax, and Teva’s label change for generic Fosamax. However, several plaintiffs allege that the gap was “several months.”
Timeline for Personal Injury and Product Liability Cases Against Fosamax
Now that the settlement has been proposed, plaintiffs’ lawyers and law firms have until January 13th, 2014, to signify their intention to be involved in the settlement process. Plaintiffs can opt out of the settlement until March 31st, and Merck has until May 15th to decide whether or not it will go forward with the settlement.
If you have taken Fosamax and have since suffered adverse side effects, loss of income, and mounting medical bills, it is more important than ever to talk to a personal injury and product liability attorney to determine if you have a case.
Other Serious Side Effects Associated with Fosamax:
- Gastrointestinal tract: ulcers in the esophagus; this will more than likely require hospitalization and exhaustive treatment.
- Osteonecrosis of the Jaw – Corrosion of the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) may occur while on this drug, if dental work of any kind is carried out.
- Neurological: instances of auditory hallucinations and visual disturbances are pretty rare, but have been associated with alendronate and other bisphosphonates.
- Skin rashes have also been reported
The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Fosamax Personal Injury and Product Liability Claims
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed through no fault of your own, from a dangerous drug like Fosamax, in an automobile accident, or as the result of a delayed dangerous product recall, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the South Carolina personal injury attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, LLC today for a free, no-cost consultation today. 803.252.4800