Witness in Fosamax Retrial Questions Merck’s Research
On June 14, 2010, the fourth day of the Fosamax retrial of Shirley Boles v. Merck started with a video deposition of Merck’s Executive Director of Clinical Research, Dr. Arthur Santora. Ms. Boles’ counsel questioned Dr. Santora on why Merck did not conduct a thorough study on Fosamax’s alleged link to ONJ, after he received an email from a dentist at Merck who warned him of the possible link. Dr. Santora replied that Merck had conducted a preliminary assessment for ONJ, which found that a comprehensive study singling out ONJ as a side effect was not “feasible.”
Dr. Santora was then questioned about Dr. Mucci’s FDA report, which implies 1) that Fosamax is not as effective as previously thought; and 2) that research data may have been manipulated to suggest Fosamax has beneficial effects in non-osteoporosis patients.
The next witness that Ms. Boles’ counsel examined was Shirley Boles’ gynecologist/general physician, Dr. James Mills MD, who originally prescribed Fosamax for Ms. Boles back in 1997. Dr. Mills stated that he is convinced that Fosamax caused Ms. Boles’ ONJ, which has led to her severe weight loss and depression. The defense asserted that Ms. Boles’ COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) could be a possible cause of her weight loss. Dr. Mills refused to accept this theory because he believes that COPD often causes patients to gain weight.
Next, a video deposition from Merck researcher, Dr. Daniel Baran, will be shown to the jury.