Merck to fight $8M Fosamax verdict

Merck (NYSE: MRK) has lost its first Fosamax jury trial.  A New York jury awarded $8 million in damages to plaintiff Shirley Boles, who claimed her osteonecrosis of the jaw was caused by the bone-building drug. That's $3 million more than the suit had requested--which offers a hint at what Merck might do next. 

But first, the verdict. The jury decided that Fosamax was a "defectively designed" product, Boles' lawyer tells the Wall Street Journal. "She felt very vindicated," attorney Timothy O'Brien says. Boles' first attempt with a jury ended in mistrial, and as one of the first Fosamax claims to go to court, her case had been watched closely for clues to each side's legal strategy. Two other bellwether cases have been resolved since, with one tossed out of court and a jury verdict in favor of Merck in the other. The company faces some 1,000 cases claiming that Fosamax can cause osteonecrosis.

Merck plans to fight the verdict, saying that the damages awarded were "excessive" and that the jury was swayed by "plaintiff's counsel's inflammatory and prejudicial remarks." The company already asked for a mistrial, claiming that one of Boles' lawyers used his closing statement to encourage the jury to punish Merck, Bloomberg reports. Though that motion failed, Judge John Keenan did tell lawyers in the case that (as quoted by Bloomberg), "I have never heard a more outrageous summation in my life."

Keenan has already set a briefing schedule, expecting to hear post-trial motions to overturn the verdict in September. Merck's attorney says the company will appeal if those post-trial motions fail.

- check out Merck's release
- read the WSJ piece
- get more from Bloomberg
- see the Reuters news

Free Webinar

From Patient Adherence to Manufacturing Ease - Why Softgels Make Sense for Rx

THIS WEEK: Join Thermo Fisher Scientific’s upcoming webinar to learn why softgels offer numerous benefits for Rx drug development, including enhanced bioavailability, patient compliance and easy scale-up. Register Today!

Suggested Articles

North Korean hackers were accused of posing as corporate recruiters in a scheme to breach AstraZeneca's computer systems and steal COVID-19 research.

The FDA has delayed its review of Revance's frown-line injection candidate after it failed to inspect a key manufacturing facility on time.

McKinsey & Company helped guide Purdue's strategy for years and pitched the idea of rebates to distributors for overdoses, according to the NYT.