Merck’s worries may not end with Vioxx. Attorneys are drawing their attention to Merck’s osteoporosis drug Fosamax, used to treat osteoporosis, for leading to a rare jawbone disease called osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ). ONJ causes the jawbone to rot and die.
The lawsuits claim that Merck sold and heavily marketed the drug as safe despite knowing it lead to ONJ. Unlike with Vioxx, Merck can not get away with claiming there are a number of other factors that could have caused the disease since it is so rare.
Fosamax belongs to the bisphosphonates class of drugs that also includes Actonel and Boniva. However, attorneys have focused on Fosamax because data from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) shows a much higher rate of ONJ with Fosamax than with other drugs.
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