Drug maker Merck & Co., creator of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, Gardasil, has been ordered to pay $285,000 to a New York woman for injuries resulting from its osteoporosis drug, Fosamax. The U.S. District Court in Manhattan ruled that Merck failed to warn the woman about the potential side effects of taking the high-risk bone drug, which include degenerative jaw disease.
The company’s second ever loss in a case involving Fosamax, the suit alleged that Merck withheld crucial information about the dangers of Fosamax from patients and their doctors. Rhoda Scheinberg, the 69-year-old woman who filed this latest lawsuit, says the drug caused her much pain and grief after a tooth extraction. Not only did she heal much more slowly, but she also developed a serious jaw disease known as osteonecrosis.
Scheinberg, who took Fosamax between October 2000 and September 2006, also accused Merck of selling a defective drug, presumably due to the fact that thousands of other former Fosamax users have also developed serious jaw conditions. But the eight-person jury ultimately rejected this claim, sticking instead with the lack of disclosure allegations, which it determined were, indeed, the cause of Scheinberg’s injuries.
“With this victory, this litigation has a renewed purpose and a renewed focus,” said Tim O’Brien, Scheinberg’s lawyer. O’Brien is also representing various others who have experienced injuries as a result of taking Fosamax.