Fosamax lawsuit involving femur fracture underway against Merck

Posted
by Michael Heygood

Merck & Co. was aware its Fosamax osteoporosis drug might cause bone brittleness and increase fracture risks years before it was made available to the public, the plaintiff’s lawyer told a New Jersey jury as trial got underway. Bernadette Glynn claims that Fosamax weakened her femur, causing her leg to break when she bent over to pick something up in April 2009, when she was 54. The lawsuit alleges that consultants began warning Merck that Fosamax could lead to spontaneous fractures in some users by preventing bones’ natural daily repair of so-called micro-fractures five years before the drug’s arrival on the market.

Merck faces 3,300 femur-fracture suits regarding Fosamax. The company has said it faces another 1,230 cases alleging Fosamax caused similar fractures in jaws.

Glynn’s lawsuit is the second thighbone-fracture case against Merck to reach a jury. The earlier trial, in state court in Atlantic City, New Jersey, was called off after plaintiff Christina Su suffered a sudden illness that was unrelated to her use of Fosamax.

Fosamax, approved for sale in the U.S. in 1995, generated sales of as much $3 billion a year until patent protection lapsed in 2008. The drug is often prescribed for osteoporosis in women and for cancer sufferers worried about fractures from weakened bones.

Researchers said in 2010 that Fosamax and competing drugs may be linked to increased risks of thighbone fractures. As many as 94 percent of 310 patients who had an uncommon type of fracture to the thigh bone were also taking a osteoporosis, bisphosphonate-based drug, according a September 2010 report in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. Most had taken the medicine for more than five years, according to the report.

HO&P Fighting Big Pharma

The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have made it a career priority to hold drug manufacturers accountable and responsible for their actions. As a result, we have spent years holding drug companies and medical device manufacturers responsible for the injuries and deaths caused by their reckless conduct. We have represented hundreds of people regarding dangerous fentanyl pain patches, defective hip and knee implant devices, Yaz, Actos, Avandia and Accutane—to name just some examples.

Heygood, Orr & Pearson is AV-rated, the highest legal and ethical rating available from the leading law firm rating service. Our partners Michael Heygood, Jim Orr, and Eric Pearson are all Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Mr. Heygood and Mr. Orr are additionally Board Certified in Civil Trial Advocacy Law by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. Our partners been voted by their peers as “Super Lawyers” in the state of Texas for several years in a row.*

At Heygood, Orr & Pearson, we believe that when a drug company sells a drug or medical device that is dangerous and unsafe, they should be held responsible for the damage. In addition, we have the resources and experience to protect a person’s rights and the rights of their loved ones against irresponsible pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers.

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Michael Heygood, James Craig Orr, Jr. and Eric Pearson were selected to the Super Lawyers List, a Thomson Reuters publication, for the years 2003 through 2013.