Fosamax: Did Merck Downplay the Drug’s Risks?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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When you see an advertisement for a drug on television or in a magazine, it often claims that the drug is the next best thing since sliced bread – and often has a doctor’s recommendation attached to it. Unfortunately for consumers, those claims and recommendations are sometimes nothing more than marketing ploys. Pharmaceutical giant, Merck & Company, was accused of deceptive marketing practices in connection with its now defunct drug, Vioxx, and agreed to stop those practices as part of a recent settlement. Consumers now wonder whether the company also downplayed the risks associated with its osteoporosis drug Fosamax.

Deceptive marketing practices

After it was discovered that Merck was ghostwriting many of the statements used in marketing materials that should have come from doctors, it was banned from deceptive marketing practices as part of its Vioxx settlement. The pharmaceutical giant is finding itself in similar situations with other drugs such as Vytorin – its cholesterol drug that was supposed to be far better than others, but has been shown to be no better than generics.

Legal experts say that Merck may have also downplayed the risks of Fosamax (alendronate) as well – with big payoffs. According to a study published by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2004, Fosamax was the most commonly dispensed bisphosphonate in the U.S. from 2001-2004 and the total number of prescriptions written in 2004 topped 22 million. Unfortunately, it’s only now that additional information is being discovered about the drug’s dangerous side effects.

Fosamax lawsuits

Legal experts say that over 100 lawsuits have already been filed against Merck over Fosamax. The drug has been linked to a deterioration of the jaw bone known as osteonecrosis and required an additional warning to be placed on the label in 2005. It has also been linked to increased rates of irregular heartbeats, or atrial fibrillation, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.

If you’ve been injured due to Fosamax or any other drug, contact an attorney whose practice focuses in this area of law to discuss your situation. Consultations are free, without obligation and strictly confidential. To contact a qualified attorney, please click here. We may be able to help.

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