Thursday, July 26, 2007

Lawsuits Hit Merck for Fosamax Osteoporosis Drug

Four Lawsuits Filed against Merck for Osteoporosis Drug, Fosamax

Anapol Schwartz Weiss Cohan Feldman & Smalley announce that the Firm has filed four lawsuits against Merck for osteonecrosis of the jaw caused by Fosamax.

Philadelphia, PA (PRWEB) July 26, 2007 -- The Philadelphia law firm of Anapol Schwartz Weiss Cohan Feldman & Smalley has filed four lawsuits against Merck in NJ Superior Court, Middlesex County, New Brunswick NJ against the manufacturer of Fosamax (see: Stroup v. Merck - L-5869-07; Mahuron v. Merck - L-5863-07; Metcalf v. Merck - L-5836-07; & Sambrano v. Merck - L-5867-07). Fosamax is one of a class of drugs called bisphosphonates, which have been found to cause osteonecrosis of the jaw ("ONJ") or jaw bone death (See: Osteonecrosis of the Jaw and Bisphosphonates, N Engl J Med 2005;353(25):2728). Osteonecrosis of the jaw is a disabling and disfiguring jawbone condition that suffers literal death of the jaw or rotting of the jaw. ONJ is manifested by exposed jaw bone, rotting jaw bone, jaw bone fractures, gum lesions, severe jaw pain, loose teeth, and secondary infections.

The allegations include that Merck & Co., Inc. ("Merck"), a New Jersey corporation, was engaged in the business of testing, developing, manufacturing, distributing, licensing, labeling, and marketing the drug Fosamax. The compound used in Fosamax, called alendronate, was approved by the FDA in 1995 for the treatment of osteoporosis and Paget's disease. Fosamax is a bisphosphonate drug, with sales peaking in excess of $3 billion per year.

One of the plaintiffs' Fosamax Lawyers in these cases said that plaintiffs have a strong case. Tracy Finken, Esq. explains, "Medical articles and studies appeared in the 1990's and 2000's reporting the frequent and common occurrence of osteonecrosis of the jaw of chemotherapy patients using nitrogenous bisphosphonates. Based on this information, and based on adverse event reports that Merck and the FDA received, Merck should have known, with their heightened knowledge and experience, that bisphosphonates inhibit vascularization of the jaw bones, leading to the ONJ disease."

According to Attorney Finken, "we have already identified thirty more lawsuits we expect to file." Litigation is nothing new to Merck, as Ms. Finken points out, "Merck is the same company facing many lawsuits involving its pain reliever, Vioxx."

There is already consolidated litigation in Federal Court -- Multi-District Litigation (MDL-1789) -- in regards to Fosamax. This means that the Federal Courts have identified so many Fosamax cases that they have consolidated these cases for the purposes of discovery. This will allow a team of attorneys (a plaintiffs' steering committee) appointed by the court to conduct discovery (depositions, interrogatories, requests for documents, requests for admissions) on behalf of many plaintiffs. Upon the completion of discovery, the cases can then proceed individually on their merits.

Attorney Finken indicated that "it is likely that there will be similar consolidation of Fosamax lawsuits in State Court in New Jersey so that plaintiffs suing Merck in New Jersey will have a common work product produced for the purposes of discovery."

Tracey A. Finken, Esquire
Ms. Finken is a civil trial attorney known for her ability to present each case in such a way that brings out her clients' unique situation. In 2002, Ms. Finken was recognized as one of the "40 on the Fast Track", a listing of the top 40 young attorneys in the State of Pennsylvania by the Legal Intelligencer. Ms. Finken was also named a Pennsylvania "Rising Star Super Lawyer" in the December 2005 and 2006 editions of Philadelphia magazine which recognizes the top 2.5 percent of attorneys 40 years old or younger in the state of Pennsylvania. Ms. Finken concentrates on class actions, pharmaceutical liability, medical and other professional malpractice, products liability, and other complex civil litigation.

SOURCE: Anapol Schwartz, Weiss, Cohan, Feldman and Smalley, P.C. CONTACT: Anapol Schwartz, Tracey Finken, 215-735-1130.

About Anapol Schwartz P.C. Since 1977 Anapol Schwartz has been of the nation's preeminent law firms known for landmark verdicts and settlements and for providing clients with the highest level of personalized legal services. Eleven of Anapol Schwartz's lawyers have received jury verdicts in excess of $1 million. The firm focuses on maintaining its tradition of excellence in personal injury, medical malpractice, pharmaceutical, toxic tort, class actions, construction site accidents, products liability, automobile litigation, security/investment fraud, and employment litigation.


Press Contact: TRACY FINKEN
Company Name: Anapol Schwartz Weiss Cohan Feldman & Smalley
Phone: 215-735-1130