Fosamax ONJ Lawsuits Scheduled For Trial Starting in August 2009

A Case Management Order has been entered in the federal Fosamax lawsuit MDL, scheduling three early trials to begin on August 11, 2009.

All Fosamax lawsuits filed by users of the osteoporosis drug who have been diagnosed with osteonecrosis of the jaw have been consolidated for pretrial litigation as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation. The cases are centralized in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York before Judge John F. Keenan.

Fosamax (alendronate sodium), which is manufactured by Merck & Co., was approved by the FDA in October 1995 for treatment of osteoporosis. It has been widely used by millions of women, generating annual sales of over $3 billion before generic versions were approved earlier this year.

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While Fosamax is designed to strengthen bones and reduce the risk of fractures, side effects have been linked to a debilitating jaw condition, known as osteonecrosis of the jaw, or ONJ.

Over 600 Fosamax ONJ lawsuits have been filed by women who have developed the painful and disfiguring condition, which is associated with swelling or infection of the gums, loose teeth or toothaches, pain in the jaw and exposed bone inside the mouth.

As part of the coordinated pretrial proceedings in the federal MDL, three cases have been identified to be the first Fosamax trials to be heard by a jury. The cases were selected by the parties and the court from a pool of cases designated for early trials, as they should help gauge the issues which will be presented throughout the litigation.

On October 24, 2008, Judge Keenan issued a Case Management Order which calls for all expert discovery on general causation about whether Fosamax can cause osteonecrosis or other jaw related injury, as well as expert discovery in the three early trial cases to be completed by April 17, 2009.
The first Fosamax trial, involving a claim filed on behalf of Shirley Boles, is scheduled to begin on August 11, 2009. The second trial, for the claim of Bessie Fleming, is scheduled to begin on October 27, 2009 and the third trial, for Karen Greene, is scheduled to begin January 11, 2010.
If any of the three cases selected for early trial are dismissed or otherwise resolved, replacement cases may be selected from a back-up pool of lawsuits.


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