Opening statements were heard today in the first state court Fosamax products liability trial, Rosenberg v. Merck.
For plaintiff Allison Rosenberg, Paul Sizemore, of the The Sizemore Firm, told the jury, "We're here because Fosamax caused harm to my client's jaw...Jaw death and what we call osteonecrosis of the jaw doesn't just happen...it was caused by Fosamax."
According to Mr. Sizemore, Ms. Rosenberg's health care providers were not warned that Fosamax could cause bone death, even though the FDA had sent warning letters to Merck. Nor were her physicians told that Fosamax's effectiveness declined after three years; instead, said Mr. Sizemore, Merck successfully fought to delay and minimize any warning.
Mr. Sizemore predicted that Merck would claim that osteoporosis was "the worst disease in the world," but noted that Ms. Rosenberg never suffered any fracture. Instead, her jaw died, and none of the other medications Ms. Rosenberg was taking, such as steroids, cause your jaw to die, said Mr. Sizemore -- only Fosamax does that.
For Merck, Butler Snow's Christy Jones told the jury that although Ms. Rosenberg believed that Fosamax had caused harm to her jaw, extensive studies showed Fosamax to be safe and effective. In addition, current scientific evidence does not show that Fosamax causes osteonecrosis of the jaw. Moreover, Merck timely warned doctors of the possible risk of osteonecrosis. Finally, said Ms. Jones, Fosamax did not cause Ms. Rosenberg to suffer osteonecrosis of the jaw. Instead, the harm to Ms. Rosenberg's jaw possibly resulted from steroid use.
Merck's FOSAMAX brand is a bisphosphonate, also referred to as alendronate, alendronic acid, or alendronic sodium. Teva manufactures a generic version.
Watch CVN's live webcast of the Rosenberg v. Merck Fosamax trial.