Jury Finds For Merck In Bellwether Fosamax Jaw Disease Trial

Jury Finds For Merck In Bellwether Fosamax Jaw Disease Trial

NEW YORK - (Mealey's) A federal court jury in New York on Nov. 19 found that Merck & Co. Inc.'s osteoporosis drug Fosamax did not cause the osteonecrosis that destroyed a Florida woman's jaw (Judith Graves v. Merck & Co. Inc., 1:06-cv-05513, S.D. N.Y.).

Seven jurors in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York voted unanimously that Fosamax was not a defective product and that its design was not a legal cause of Judith Graves' injury, which required several surgeries to repair. The question was the first on the verdict slip, and the negative answer ended the jurors' deliberations. The case was tried before multidistrict litigation Judge John F. Keenan.

Merck said in a Nov. 19 press release that it had argued that Graves suffered "multiple medical conditions" that could have caused osteonecrosis. With the verdict, Merck has won three of the first four bellwether cases in the consolidated Fosamax litigation. In the lone plaintiff victory, Judge Keenan reduced the jury's award from $8 million to $1.5 million (Boles v. Merck, No. 06-9455, S.D. N.Y.) The parties have appealed. As of Sept. 30, Merck says, approximately 1,180 cases were pending against Merck in federal or state courts.

[Editor's Note: Full coverage will be in the Dec. 2 issue of Mealey's Emerging Drugs & Devices. In the meantime, the verdict slip is available at www.mealeysonline.com or by calling the Customer Support Department at 1-800-833-9844. Document #28-101202-003V. For all of your legal news needs, please visit www.lexisnexis.com/mealeys.]

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For more information, call editor Thomas Moylan at 215-988-7739, or e-mail him at thomas.moylan@lexisnexis.com.