Fosamax, as well as generic versions and other bisphosphonate drugs, are used to treat osteoporosis. In 2010, according to Bloomberg, a study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research found that the drug, which was approved in 1995, could actually be linked to an increase in femur fractures. About 94 percent of the 310 patients studied who had an uncommon thigh fracture (atypical) were also taking a Fosamax-type drug, many of them for more than five years, according to the research cited in Bloomberg.
This new trial comes about three weeks after the first femur fracture side effects Fosamax trial in the Superior Court of New Jersey ended abruptly in a mistrial following the plaintiff suffering a heart attack. (Court documents do not indicate when that case may be rescheduled for trial.)
The plaintiff in the first trial alleged that Fosamax was responsible for her femur fracture and also claimed that Merck ignored signs that long-term use (more than five years) of Fosamax caused femur deterioration in some patients.
According to Bloomberg on April 8, 2013, jurors in New Jersey are hearing the case of a 59-year-old woman who took Fosamax for more than six years before suffering a femur fracture while bending over to pick something up off the floor. The damages resulting from the “atypical femur fracture” are often seen in traumatic injuries, such as high falls, skiing accidents, etc.
There are over 3,300 lawsuits alleging that Merck’s bone loss drug actually makes patients more susceptible to bone breaks, particularly atypical femur fractures.
Nationwide, Fosamax lawsuits were categorized into two different federal pre-trial case consolidations for efficiency purposes, known as multidistrict litigation (MDL). Cases involving alleged femur fractures are handled in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. Lawsuits related to Fosamax’s alleged jaw death side effects are being handled in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The reason for this is so that one designated court can hear many Fosamax cases with the same claims at once, saving court costs and time spent litigating these similar cases.
As a new Fosamax trial proceeds in New Jersey, the jury has heard from the plaintiff’s side that Fosamax’s manufacturer, Merck, knew about the fracture risks associated with Fosamax at least five years before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug.
Court records indicate that Merck is facing more than 3,300 Fosamax lawsuits involving femur fracture allegations in both state and federal court. In addition to those pending in the federal multidistrict litigation, more than 2,000 femur fracture claims have been filed in a consolidated litigation in New Jersey’s Atlantic County Superior Court. There are another 420 Fosamax lawsuits pending in Orange County, California, according to Bloomberg.
Fosamax and other bisphosphonates have been used by millions of post-menopausal women to prevent fractures from osteoporosis, as well as to treat other bone loss related issues, including weakened bones following some cancer treatments. The FDA added new information to the Fosamax label in October 2010 after studies indicated that people taking bisphosphonates for osteoporosis were at risk of suffering atypical femoral fractures. Since the FDA alert, additional studies have pointed to a link between Fosamax and femur fractures.
In May 2012, the FDA published a review in the New England Journal of Medicine (May 31, 2012), suggesting that there was little benefit in taking bisphosphonates for longer than five years considering their association with serious side effects, including atypical femur fractures, based on trials involving 2,342 post menopausal women.
Last month, the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery reported the results of a study, which showed a link between bisphosphonates and non-healing femur fractures, after finding that 26 percent of the atypical femoral fractures reported to an FDA database in a 15-year period exhibited delayed healing or non-healing.
Victims of alleged Fosamax femur fractures could be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages.
If you or a loved one experienced a fracture following Fosamax use, contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).