NEWARK, N.J. — After hundreds Fosamax cases were combined in multidistrict litigation in New Jersey, the judge overseeing the cases dismissed all of them – 570 cases in total. This dismissal follows a similar ruling in March where 650 cases were dismissed. In both dismissals, the suits were based on a claim that warning labels on the osteoporosis drug from before 2011 were not adequate. The judge found that, due to evidence that the United States Food and Drug Administration would not have approved a stricter warning at that time, the cases should be dismissed.
Fosamax is used by men and women who have weakened bone or osteoporosis. Although millions of patients have been prescribed Fosamax, the drug has been linked to serious side effects, such as preventing the body from removing or repairing old bone. Additionally, Fosamax has been linked to osteonecrosis of the jaw, which is caused by not enough blood reaching the jaw and, in severe cases, can even require surgical removal of the jaw.
This latest dismissal joins more rulings that are negative for Fosamax plaintiffs, most notably the first federal case from 2013 where a jury found for Fosamax maker, Merck. A case in June 2014 that regarded the warning label in 2011 was also decided in the drug manufacturer’s favor after it was determined that the warning label was adequate. The plaintiffs from the 2013 and 2014 cases have appealed these verdicts, and their appeals is currently pending in front of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
Although these dismissals are bad news for all of patients who have suffered from the adverse side effects of Fosamax, the dismissals could still be overturned depending on the results of the appeal by the plaintiff from the 2013 case, which also concerned the warning labels from before 2011. There are nearly 4,000 other Fosamax cases with similar claims that are still pending in other jurisdictions in the United States, and Merck’s willingness to settle similar cases with plaintiffs in Canada for millions of dollars is additional good news for Fosamax plaintiffs in the U.S.
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