Closing statements took place yesterday in the Fosamax retrial of Shirley Boles v. Merck.  The plaintiff alleges that Fosamax is not effective for women with osteopenia (vs. osteoperosis) and caused Ms. Boles, a former officer of the law, to develop osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ).  The defendants dispute causation, and argue that other factors caused Ms. Boles’ injury.  The plaintiff asked the jury to consider a damage award of $5 million.  Following closing statements, Judge Keenan denied the defendants’ motion for a mistrial, rejecting the defense counsel’s claims that the plaintiff’s counsel tried to inflame the jury.

Medical Testimony Shows Link Between Fosamax and ONJ

The plaintiff called seven live witnesses (and several by videotaped deposition) to testify in her case-in-chief, including Dr. Robert Marx, a professor at the University of Miami School of Medicine and an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, who has treated upwards of 250 patients with ONJ.  Dr. Marx discussed animal studies showing a link between Fosamax and ONJ and testified that he believes Fosamax causes ONJ.  He specifically rejected the defendants’ theory that the plaintiff’s ONJ was caused by her prior health issues instead of her Fosamax use. Dr. Marx further explained how Fosamax’s long half-life exposes patients to the drug’s toxic effects well after they stop using it.  The half-life of Fosamax is 11.2 years, which means that it takes 11.2 years for half the drug to leave the body.  Therefore, even after being off Fosamax for three years, 75% of its toxic effect remains in the body.

Fosamax and Femur Fractures

Recently, Fosamax has been linked to femur fractures, with patients reporting that after weeks or months of unexplained aching, their thighbones literally snap while they are walking or standing.  In March 2010, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) said it would take a closer look at this issue. The latest FDA review was prompted by media reports linking Fosamax and other bisphosphonate drugs to atypical subtrochanteric femur fractures in patients who have been on the drugs for several years. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, two studies presented at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons’ annual meeting this past March suggest the drugs might adversely affect bone quality and increase the risk of atypical fractures of the femur when used for four or more years.

If you or a loved one were seriously injured by Fosamax (alendronate), you may be entitled to file a Fosamax lawsuit seeking compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other injuries. Contact a Fosamax lawyer at Bernstein Liebhard LLP at (877) 779-1414 or for a confidential and free case evaluation or visit our consumer advocacy website,

Since 1993, Bernstein Liebhard has pursued hundreds of cases on behalf of injured consumers and shareholders, recovering almost $3 billion for our clients. For seven consecutive years, The National Law Journal has named the Firm as one of the top plaintiff’s litigation firms in the country.

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Published June 25, 2010 by