Fosamax Lawsuits’ Future to be Decided by Supreme Court

The fate of about 500 lawsuits involving the drug Fosamax is now in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The nation’s highest court has agreed to consider overturning an appellate court ruling that reinstated the lawsuits after a federal trial judge dismissed them.

The issue involves whether Merck, the manufacturer of the osteoporosis drug, failed to warn of the danger that patients taking Fosamax could develop a specific type of thigh bone fractures.

Merck argues that it asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve such a warning on its label, but the FDA denied its request.

Lawyers for the injured patients say Merck asked for a warning about a different kind of fracture than those involved in the lawsuits.

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in March 2017 that jurors should decide the issue. But the Trump administration — invited by the Supreme Court to weigh in — maintained this issue should be decided by judges.

Fosamax Side Effects | Problems With Esophagus & Femur Pain

Doctors prescribe Fosamax to prevent age-related bone damage.

The drug can cause minor side effects including abdominal pain, acid regurgitation and constipation. In rare cases, people who take the drug may suffer from serious side effects such as femur fractures, jaw problems and esophageal ulcers.

For many people, one of the worries that comes with getting older is the risk of developing osteoporosis. This debilitating disease makes bones so brittle they easily break.

When Fosamax (alendronate) was introduced in 1995, it was promoted as the solution to osteoporosis and other bone-damaging diseases. However, studies show that the drug causes serious side effects that may be more problematic than osteoporosis itself.

The drug’s manufacturer, Merck, says the most common side effects include gastrointestinal issues, such as nausea, diarrhea, constipation and cramping. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration documented several of the drug’s more serious side effects and subsequently distributed numerous warnings.

Though rare, severe health problems associated with Fosamax can be crippling. These include femur fractures, Dead Jaw Syndrome, esophagus problems and musculoskeletal pain.

Some of these side effects led people to file Fosamax lawsuits against Merck.

Fosamax and Boniva Drug Lawsuit Charges Permanent and Severe Injuries from Long-Term Bisphosphonate Use

Kent Klaudt of the national plaintiffs’ law firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP announced that Reba Inez Patton and her husband Patrick Patton of Tennessee have filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court of New Jersey against Merck & Co., the manufacturer of Fosamax, and GlaxoSmithKline, LLC, the manufacturer of Boniva, alleging these prescription drugs, which fall within the category of drugs known as bisphosphonates, increase the risk of atypical bone fractures and caused Mrs. Patton severe and permanent injuries.

Mrs. Patton was prescribed both Fosamax and Boniva. Mrs. Patton used Fosamax from approximately 2001 to 2006, and Boniva from approximately 2006 to 2010. On December 10, 2010, Mrs. Patton suffered a low energy, atypical femoral fracture when she took a step to walk up a flight of stairs.

“I wish this never happened to me. When I walk, it is scary because I do not want to fall again,” stated Mrs. Patton.

Bisphosphonates such as Fosamax and Boniva are intended to slow bone loss associated with osteoporosis. However, as the lawsuit charges, long-term use of Fosamax and Boniva causes weak or brittle bones, resulting in a rare type of low energy or low trauma femur fracture.

“Merck and GlaxoSmithKline negligently marketed these bisphosphonate products, which lack long-term benefits and also pose significant dangers to patients, especially those who have been on the drugs for many years,” commented attorney Klaudt.

The complaint also charges that Merck and GlaxoSmithKline failed to provide physicians and patients with sufficient instructions and warnings regarding the risk of severely suppressed bone turnover, resulting in stress fractures. Klaudt stated, “Neither doctors nor patients were warned by the manufacturers of these horrible atypical femur fractures caused by long-term use of bisphosphonates.”

Mrs. Patton charges in the complaint that she will require ongoing medical care and treatment due to her severe and permanent injuries, including severely suppressed bone turnover and a severe fracture in her left femur, fear of developing other harmful conditions, additional fractures, and pain and mental anguish.

“The accident changed a good part of my life; it put a lot of extra burden on my family. I just do not want this to happen to anyone else,” Mrs. Patton added.

Risk of Throat Cancer from Fosamax, Actonel, Boniva Found in Study

Long-term users of the bone-strengthening drugs Fosamax, Actonel, Boniva and other oral bisphosphonates may face a doubled risk of throat cancer, according to the results of a new study. 

The study is published in the latest issue of the British Medical Journal (BMJ), and it appears to contradict a similar study published last month that found no link between oesophageal cancer and oral biphosphonates like Fosamax.

Researchers from Oxford University looked at the UK General Practice Research Database and found that those subjects who filled 10 or more prescriptions for oral biphosphonates had nearly twice the chance of contracting throat cancer than those who were not taking the drugs. Researchers said that risk did not change regardless of age, sex, smoking, alcohol use, weight or the use of a variety of other drugs.

Scroll to Top