A Massachusetts woman has filed a Fosamax fracture lawsuit against Merck and a generic drug maker, alleging that the osteoporosis drug caused her to suffer a broken thigh bone.
The complaint was filed by Elayne Denker against Merck & Co. and Cobalt Laboratories, Inc. on January 4 in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. Denker alleges that she took Fosamax and a generic equivalent made by Cobalt from 2003 through 2010, resulting in a low-trauma femur fracture from Fosamax in March 2010.
Fosamax (alendronate sodium) is a member of a class of drugs known as bisphosphonates, which have been increasingly associated with low-impact or no-impact femur fractures.
In October, the FDA issued an alert to warn doctors and consumers about a potential link between Fosamax and femur fractures, requiring new information to be added to the warning label for Fosamax and other similar medications.
Denker’s generic Fosamax lawsuit claims that she started taking the name brand medication to prevent osteoporosis in September 2003, and then switched to a generic made by Cobalt in October 2008. She continued to take the drug until February 2010. In the summer of 2009 she indicates that she began experiencing unexplained thigh pain and began having problems performing activities she had always enjoyed without difficulty, including speed walking and gardening. Doctors were unable to find a cause for the pain, despite a number of examinations.
In March 2010, Denker fell and broke her thigh bone, the strongest bone in the human body. She was hospitalized for five days and had a titanium rod inserted in her broken femur. She required physical therapy and rehabilitation as a result of her injuries. The lawsuit claims she suffered permanent disfiguration, scarring, loss of the ability to live independently. Her hobbies of speed walking and gardening have become impossible, the lawsuit claims.
According to allegations raised in the lawsuit, Merck and Cobalt knew or should have known about the Fosamax femur fracture side effects, and the companies failed to warn doctors and patients about the potential health risks.
Recent updates to the warning label for Fosamax and generic equivalents now warn doctors about the potential Fosamax femur fracture risk, recommending that doctors discuss the potential problems with patients and instruct them to seek immediate medical attention if they experience new groin pain or thigh pain, which can occur weeks or months before a complete fracture of the femur on Fosamax occurs.
The lawsuit is one of a growing number of Fosamax femur fracture lawsuits that have been filed against Merck. The drug maker also faces more than 1,000 suits that have been filed in state and federal courts throughout the country over claims that Fosamax causes jaw problems known as osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ).