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Merck Wins Challenge to Fosamax

ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey (Courtroom View Network) -- Merck (MRK) won a legal challenge to its Fosamax treatment for osteoporosis.

A New Jersey jury concluded on Monday that a Fosamax user did not suffer from osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ), and therefore she failed to show that Fosamax caused the harm.

Allison Rosenberg's physician prescribed for her the osteoporosis medication Fosamax (alendronate), even after she was no longer osteoporitic and was only mildly osteopenic. Rosenberg claimed that Merck knew and should have warned her physician that oral biphosphonates could cause ONJ. Rosenberg endured five operations to remove parts of her jaw.

Merck's legal counsel, Butler Snow's Christy Jones, argued that the company accurately and timely warned of a risk, and that Merck did not know, and does not even now know, whether Fosamax causes ONJ, because ONJ has so many causes.

The first question to the jury was, "Has the plaintiff proven that it is more likely than not that Allison Rosenberg had ONJ?" The jury voted "No," by a margin of 9-1.

Three prior Fosamax trials in federal court resulted in two defense verdicts and one plaintiff verdict. Merck has now won three of the first four Fosamax trials.

This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.

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