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Fosamax® MDL Update: Judge Denies Merck’s Request to Require Plaintiffs to Substantiate Injuries

Law 360 reports that Judge John Keenan of the Southern District of New York has denied Defendants’ request mandating hundreds of alleged Fosamax® victims to substantiate their injuries. Judge Keenan, who serves as the presiding judge in the Multidistrict Litigation In Re: Fosamax® Products Liability Litigation (MDL 1789), said the “process would devolve into a fight on the merits of each case.” According to Law360, Merck attorneys said they identified some 600 questionable cases in the Multidistrict Litigation and requested that the judge mandate these plaintiffs to provide expert reports linking Fosamax to their alleged injuries. However, the judge refused this request based on the fact that the court would have to perform individualized determinations and such an order would also risk loss of viable cases.

Fosamax is manufactured by Merck and is used to treat osteoporosis and other bone diseases. In 2005, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) ordered that warnings about ONJ be added to labels for Fosamax and other bisphosphonates because osteonecrosis may develop when bisphosphonates prevent the body from repairing microscopic damage to the jawbone.

As a result, more than 1,000 injured victims have filed claims in federal court alleging that their use of Fosamax® led to osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ). These federal cases are currently pending before Judge Keenan in the Southern District of New York (In Re: Fosamax® Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1789). Seven cases have been tried so far in the MDL, with a jury finding in favor of Merck in five cases and a jury finding in favor of plaintiff in two cases. The cases still pending in the Multidistrict Litigation remain consolidated for pretrial purposes.

 

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