Thursday, January 17, 2013

Fifth Bellwether Fosamax® Trial: Day 3 -- Rhoda Scheinberg

Another clearly material consolidated set of federal cases pending against New Merck relates to claims that Fosamax® causes, or is associated with increased risk of ONJ and femur fractures. Here's an update on those. [Prior case background may be found here.]

The fifth full "test" case -- or bellwether, if you will -- has been underway in earnest since Tuesday morning of this week, being tried to a jury, in Judge John F. Keenan's US District courtroom in Manhattan. We will report any verdict, but that may not come for another week or two.

The very able judge has ruled that Rhoda Scheinberg's lawyers will not be able to seek punitive damages, and that her claims are limited to Merck's alleged failure to adequately warn about Fosamax risks, and design defects related to the drug.

It is estimated that more than 4,000 such claims are pending in the state and federal courts around the nation. We will keep you up to date -- from page 20 of Merck's latest SEC filed Form 10-Q:

. . . .Merck is a defendant in product liability lawsuits in the United States involving Fosamax (the “Fosamax Litigation”). As of September 30, 2012, approximately 4,005 cases, which include approximately 4,580 plaintiff groups, had been filed and were pending against Merck in either federal or state court, including one case which seeks class action certification, as well as damages and/or medical monitoring. In approximately 1,215 of these actions, plaintiffs allege, among other things, that they have suffered osteonecrosis of the jaw (“ONJ”), generally subsequent to invasive dental procedures, such as tooth extraction or dental implants and/or delayed healing, in association with the use of Fosamax. In addition, plaintiffs in approximately 2,785 of these actions generally allege that they sustained femur fractures and/or other bone injuries (“Femur Fractures”) in association with the use of Fosamax. . . .

When (and if) there is a verdict -- you'll read it here, first.

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