Pharmaceutical Giant Agrees to Settle Fosamax Jaw Personal Injury Lawsuits
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 settlement will resolve 1,140 lawsuits involving Fosamax in both federal and state courts. Merck still faces more than 4,000 product liability lawsuits outside of the settlement.
According to Merck, the settlement requires 100% participation rate from plaintiffs, along with medical evidence that Fosamax caused bone deterioration in the claimants. Plaintiffs claimed in their personal injury cases that the bone-building drug caused osteonecrosis, particularly in the jaw, which is a condition that causes bone to deteriorate and die.
Fosamax was a blockbuster drug for its parent pharmaceutical company, netting Merck $3 billion in sales in 2007 alone. However, the drug lost patent protection in 2008. Through September of this year, sales have dropped to $421 million – indicating that, while generics might take up some of the market share, Fosamax is still being prescribed at high rates.
Litigation against the drug began in 2005. Fosamax personal injury and product liability cases were consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in 2006. About 860 of those cases go before Judge John Keenan in the US District Court of Manhattan. Several bellwether cases have already gone before Judge Keenan, with the latest going to the plaintiff, Rhoda Scheinberg, who was awarded $285,000 in damages in February of this year.
Merck lost just one of the other six bellwether cases in the MDL, when a Florida jury awarded $8 million in damages to Shirley Boles. The judge later lowered the damages to $1.5 million. There have been a total of 7 bellwether cases so far.
“We are pleased with this resolution of the ONJ litigation, and we continue to be committed to the vigorous defense of these cases,” Merck said in a statement. “Above all, we will continue to always act in the best interest of patients. We remain confident in the efficacy and safety profile of Fosamax, which was developed and studied carefully by dedicated Merck scientists.”
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