In the latest test of its legal strategy over damages attributed to Fosamax, a New Jersey state court jury decided that the osteoporosis med did not cause Alison Rosenberg, 67, to develop jaw damage known as osteonecrosis. This was the first state court trial to reach a verdict and only the fourth to go to trial. Merck previously won two of three lawsuits that reached federal juries.
In reaching its decision, the jury in Superior Court in Atlantic City determined that Rosenberg, who used the med from 1999 to 2006, did not develop osteonecrosis due to Fosamax, that Merck did provide adequate warnings to her doctor and that her doc would have changed the prescription if proper warnings were communicated (read the Merck statement).
The verdict is likely to encourage Merck to continue battling the approximately 1,180 lawsuits filed in state and federal courts. The three previous trials were held in federal court in Manhattan, and Merck won the first case. The second case ended in a mistrial in September 2009 and Merck lost a retrial last June, although an $8 million award was subsequently reduced (see here) and Merck is appealing. Merck won the third case last November.