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Fosamax Fracture Litigation Takes Precedence Over Jaw Cases in N.J.

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The next New Jersey trial date involving the Fosamax litigation will involve a lawsuit over a femur fracture, even though jaw decay cases are older and were originally first in line. There are currently about 1,800 Fosamax cases consolidated in the Superior Court of New Jersey for Atlantic County as part of a ‘mass tort’ for pretrial proceedings, including both fracture lawsuits and jaw decay claims. Manufactured and marketed by Merck & Co., Fosamax is one of the best-selling and most widely-prescribed osteoporosis drugs on the planet.

Fosamax Femur Fracture Update 3/13/13: A new study has identified a causal link between Fosamax and nonhealing femur fractures. The research, which was published in last month’s edition of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, found that nonhealing femur fractures are not just associated with Fosamax and other diabetes drugs, but directly caused by them.

What’s the problem?

June 14, 2012 – In a letter sent last week, Judge Carol Higbee indicated to the parties involved in the New Jersey state court litigation that she intends to focus on Fosamax bellwether cases involving femur fractures – rather than jaw decay lawsuits – for the next trial date.

The first Fosamax cases were filed back in 2006 on behalf of individuals who allegedly suffered severe jaw damage after taking the drug. However, the volume of complaints filed in recent years has shifted towards individuals who have experienced spontaneous femur fractures on Fosamax, which typically occur with little or no trauma at all.

First approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in 1995, Fosamax (alendronate sodium) is prescribed for the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis. Before its patent protection expired in 2008, the drug generated over $3 billion annually, and was used by millions of patients around the country.

Following a 2010 investigation by the FDA, Merck was required to add new bone fracture warnings to labels of Fosamax, after it was found that such injuries can occur during routine daily activities such as taking a step or falling from standing height or less. In response to the updated warnings, the number of Fosamax lawsuits filed in courthouses around the country increased dramatically.

In the federal court system, the Fosamax litigation involving fractures and jaw decay have been divided into two separate multidistrict litigations (MDLs). The jaw lawsuits have been centralized in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and the fracture complaints have been consolidated within the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

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