It's jury time in Fosamax jaw-injury case

Both plaintiff and defense have presented their arguments over Merck's Fosamax and its possible links to jawbone death. Now it's up to the jury to decide. And what those 12 people will decide is anybody's guess at this point. But when the verdict comes, it stands to affect more than 900 federal and state-court lawsuits over the bone-loss drug.

Here's the gist: Plaintiff Shirley Boles claims that Fosamax caused her osteonecrosis of the jaw and that Merck didn't do enough to investigate that risk and warn patients or doctors about it. "It is a corporate failure, a failure of the system in which you accept the evidence that is good for you and ignore the evidence that is bad for you," Boles' attorney Tim O'Brien said.

Merck says it didn't know about the potential risk until a case report surfaced in a medical journal in late 2003, after Boles first developed ONJ. And there's no proof that Fosamax actually caused Boles' disease: "It is a theory ... it is a theory without scientific basis," Paul Strain, an attorney for Merck, told the jury in Manhattan federal court before they started deliberating (as quoted by Reuters).

Each side presented its own experts in support of its cause. So, as Bloomberg notes, it could come down to which expert testimony the jury buys. We'll have to wait for the verdict to find out.

- read the Bloomberg coverage
- get more from Reuters
- see the New York Times story