The first medical malpractice claim involving the drug Fosamax, from the Merck Pharmaceutical Company, could set a precedent for about 900 other state and federal claims against Merck.
In the first products liability claim that began last month in a United States District Court in Manhattan, Shirley Boles, a retired sheriff from Florida, claims taking Fosamax over a nine year period caused the tissue in her jawbone to die. The problem started after she had a tooth pulled in 2002.
According to the other pending claims against Merck, patients like Boles say taking Fosamax caused them to develop a rare complication called osteonecrosis of the jaw — or the premature death of cells and tissue in the jaw.
Our firm’s personal injury attorneys in San Diego know there are dangerous drugs being prescribed every day that have unknown products liability side effects that can lead to further medical complications. These complications can lead to more injuries and in some cases, wrongful death.
The Food and Drug Administration approved Fosamax in 1995 to treat the thinning of bone tissue associated with menopause, and in 1997, the FDA approved Fosamax for osteoporosis itself.
Recently, claims have been made alleging negligence, but Merck argues they did not know about the problem until 2003. After finding out, Merck hired a panel of doctors to find out how many cases of the necrosis were found to be caused by Fosamax.
Merck’s defends its drug by saying there is no concrete medical evidence proving Fosamax causes jawbone necrosis, and that Mrs. Boles had other problems that could have caused her jaw problems.
If the jury rules in favor of Mrs. Boles, compensatory damages can be awarded for suffering, but United States District Court Judge John F. Keenan has already ruled out punitive damages because he said there’s no evidence suggesting malice on Merck’s part.
The personal injury lawyers at our San Diego firm believe that pharmaceutical companies always need to make sure that their products are safe for people to use and not release products to consumers that will do more damage than good.
Please contact us for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer — we speak both English and Spanish — at (800) 655-6585. Click here and you may also submit your case for a Free Review. No fee if no recovery.