Jury in bellwether Fosamax case unable to agree

The jury in the bellwether Fosamax case against Merck said today that they could not reach a decision, but the federal judge presiding over the case sent them back to the deliberation room to keep trying. The jury is to decide whether osteoporosis drug Fosamax caused a woman's osteonecrosis of the jaw--or "jawbone death." The plaintiff is asking for at least $1 million.

The jury has deliberated for about nine hours since first being assigned the case a week ago. "It's very stressful to sit here and an agreement cannot be reached," a juror wrote in one of four notes to the judge informing him they could not decide. "I feel that we never will reach a verdict because everyone has a different opinion."

U.S. District Judge John Keenan is not ready to toss the case out and explained to the jury that the trial is important to both the plaintiff and the drugmaker. This trial is the first of three bellwether trials Merck faces that will greatly impact the roughly 900 Fosamax cases looming.

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