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Merck Prepares To Defend Fosamax Lawsuits

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Osteonecrosis allege by Fosamax Users

Merck & Co., the drug maker who was already battered by numerous Vioxx lawsuits, is preparing for an avalanche of litigation from patients claiming they were harmed by Fosamax, the company’s quick-selling osteoporosis drug, according to an article on consumer.com.

Merck reportedly announced last week that it is setting aside $48 million to set up a defense fund for cases alleging that the drug Fosamax causes a condition known as osteonecrosis, which means decaying of the jaw bone.

Merck officials say that the company is now facing about 104 cases over Fosamax, a majority of which have been filed in federal court. The first of these cases is not expected to go to trial until 2008.

Fosamax has been in the market for over a decade. As of Dec. 31, Merck faced about 27,400 cases over Vioxx. Bisnar|Chase is pursing 53 of the most significant cases for on behalf of consumers. Merck has said that it spent about $500 million on Vioxx-related legal costs in 2006. To my knowledge not one cent of that money was used to compensate victims, it was all spent denying, denying, denying.

The connection between Fosamax and jawbone decay began to surface about five years ago when dentists began noticing a high frequency of osteonecrosis among people taking Fosamax. Initially, Fosamax was thought to be high-risk only for cancer patients, but recently doctors have become certain that the drug can cause potential harm to any one when taken it over a long period of time.

Other Fosamax side effects include severe digestive reactions, chest pain, heartburn, blood clotting, anemia, dental problems, numbness in the face and irritability. Adding to the already long list of reactions to the drug, one must also stay upright for at least 30 minutes after taking the medication or severe reactions can occur.

Obviously, this is not the first time one of Merck’s drugs is causing havoc. The Vioxx debacle was so widespread and so disastrous that it prompted the Food and Drug Administration to take immediate action and changes in their procedures. Vioxx was removed from the market later than it should have been. It had already done a lot of harm.

Merck’s drug’s history of serous, undisclosed side effects with drugs of mass distribution, points to one of three conclusions. First, Merck is pushing its drugs on consumers much to early to accurately access the drug’s side effects; or (2) Merck knows of the dangerous side effects and pushes the drugs, with a conscience disregard for consumers, for the pure profit motive; or (3) A combination of "to early" and "conscience disregard for consumers"..

The FDA is not without fault. If the FDA had done their job of protecting consumers by a more stringent approval process, their wouldn’t be tens of thousands of heart attacks from Vioxx use or thousands of osteonecrosis sufferers from Fosamax. The FDA’s approval process was "streamlined" by the Bush administrations in order that drug companies did not have to wait so long before bringing their drugs to market.

The Bush administration is now working on providing immunity from lawsuit for drug companies if the FDA has approved their drugs. Watch, the Bush administration will do whatever it can in the next two years to provide a number of industries, immunity from consumer lawsuits, before his administration leaves office. The drug companies and the automobile makers are pushing the Bush administration very hard on these immunity issues. Those millions of dollars in campaign contributions were not free. Their are no free lunches.

At Bisnar|Chase, we have many clients, victims of Vioxx, who are still waiting for their day in court. We have dozens of families who have lost a loved one due to defective automobile design. All of these consumer claims will be wiped out and negligent corporation will escape responsibility for the harm they have caused, if President Bush has his way. Hasn’t he done enough harm to America and the world. Taking away people’s rights to hold wrongdoers accountable for the harm they cause is only going to encourage corporate chance taking with he products they market and more harm and injuries to people in America. Is this President really that callus? Or is it that he is just bought and paid for?

If you or a loved one has been seriously harmed due to drugs with dangerous side effects, such as Vioxx or Fosamax, contact us to determine your rights and options. The same goes for any questions you may have regarding injuries suffered due to defects in auto design. The call is free, the peace of mind is priceless.