June 18, 2014 — Law360 reports that Merck has won a “bellwether” trial involving Fosamax, an osteoporosis drug.

Plaintiffs accused Merck & Co. of negligence for failing to warn about the risk of atypical femur fractures from Fosamax. However, a New Jersey federal judge granted Merck a summary judgment and dismissed the lawsuit.

U.S. District Judge Joel A. Pisano found that Merck was not liable for Barbara Gaynor’s femur fracture because her claims arose after January 2011, when Merck updated the label on Fosamax. The judge ruled that the new label sufficiently warns about the risk of femur fractures.

Merck has won other lawsuits involving Fosamax and femur fractures, including the first case to go to trial. In April 2013, Judge Pisano granted Merck summary judgement, effectively terminating Bernadette Glynn’s lawsuit.

Glynn took Fosamax from 2001 to April 2009, when her right femur fractured and required surgery. In 2011, Glynn filed a lawsuit and joined the Multi-District Litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. Merck argued that Fosamax did not cause Glynn’s femur fracture, and instead it was caused by other medical conditions and risk-factors.

The jury deliberated for one hour and 20 minutes before finding that Glynn “did not prove her case,” according to LexisNexis.

Merck is facing approximately 3,300 lawsuits alleging that Fosamax causes femur fractures. They are also facing about 1,200 lawsuits in a separate MDL alleging that Fosamax causes osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ).


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