Merck wins fifth of six Fosamax trials

John O'Brien Apr. 23, 2012, 7:27am


ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - Merck & Co. has won another trial over its osteoporosis drug Fosamax.

An Atlantic County Superior Court jury handed down its verdict Wednesday. Merck claims it is the fifth win in six Fosamax cases that have gone to trial.

Jo-Ann Sessner said she experienced side effects from the drug. Courtroom View Network reported that it was the second Merck win in state court, while three four of the cases heard in federal court resulted in Merck wins.

"We believe the evidence showed the company acted properly, and that Fosamax did not cause the plaintiff's dental and jaw problems," said Christy Jones of Butler, Snow, O'Mara, Stevens & Cannada, outside counsel for Merck, in a press release.

"Unfortunately, the plaintiff had medical conditions that can result in the development of jaw and dental problems in people, regardless of whether they were taking Fosamax. She had evidence of significant infections that required invasive dental procedures and had conditions that inhibit the body's ability to heal."

Sessner blamed Merck for the osteonecrosis she experienced in her jaw. It is a condition where the jaw bone dies, CVN reported. The lawsuit alleged Merck withheld evidence of side effects.

Sessner began taking the drug after a hip fracture, CVN says. Presiding was Judge Carol Higbee.

Atlantic County has drawn the interest of the American Tort Reform Foundation, which produces the annual Judicial Hellholes report.

In 2011, the ATRF placed Atlantic County on its watch list for a second straight year. In 2009, the county was ranked the fourth worst Judicial Hellhole in the country.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at

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