Fosamax ONJ Trial Results in Another Defense Verdict

A New Jersey jury has returned a defense verdict in favor of Merck in another product liability lawsuit filed over jaw decay caused by the popular osteoporosis drug Fosamax.

The trial involved a complaint brought in New Jersey state court by Jo Ann Sessner, who alleged that she developed osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) from Fosamax.  The painful and debilitating condition causes decay of the jaw bone, and often requires surgery to remove portions of the jaw.

At trial, Merck argued that Sessner suffered from another medical condition that caused her jaw decay and claimed the problems were not linked to her use of Fosamax.

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Following several weeks of trial, the jury agreed and found that Fosamax did not cause Sessner’s jaw condition.

More than 1,245 lawsuits over side effects of Fosamax are pending in New Jersey state court, where Merck, the manufacturer of the drug, is based.

While many of the cases involve individuals who have suffered jaw problems, a growing number of Fosamax lawsuits over femur fractures have been filed in recent months by individuals who experienced a sudden broken thigh bone that occurred with little or no trauma at all.

Fosamax (alendronate sodium), is a member of a class of drugs known as bisphosphonates, which are prescribed for treatment of osteoporosis. Fosamax was approved by the FDA in October 1995, and has been used by more than 20 million people. The drug generated over $3 billion in annual sales for Merck before it became available as a generic in 2010.

In addition to New Jersey state court lawsuits, Merck also faces a number of cases over Fosamax that are pending in the federal court system.  All federal cases involving jaw problems from Fosamax have been consolidated for pretrial proceedings as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL), which is centralized in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.  A second Fosamax MDL for femur fracture cases has been centralized in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

The New Jersey state court trial is the sixth case to go to trial against Merck.  The drug maker has successfully defended itself in all but one. All of the trials have involved jaw decay from Fosamax.


  • JeanDecember 7, 2012 at 8:22 am

    What I really don't like about Elsevier is how they don't prodvie links to other journals so you have to go to PubMed to get access.Elsevier only is a profitable company because it has received content from scientists for free, and because scientific peers review articles for free.Elsevier never makes content open access unless they are paid to do so.

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