By Farron Cousins

February 5th, 2013

A jury today ruled against pharmaceutical giant Merck, awarding a plaintiff $285,000.  The case involved the blockbuster drug Fosamax, a treatment for osteoporosis.

The jury found that Merck failed to notify doctors – in this case, the doctors of plaintiff Rhoda Scheinberg – of the dangers that have been associated with the drug.  However, the jury also said that Fosamax itself was not a defective drug.

Two attorneys from the firm of Levin Papantonio — Shareholder Timothy O’Brien and associate Brandon Bogle — went up against more than two dozen partners assembled from four top-flight pharmaceutical defense firms and won a major victory for Fosamax patients.

Nate Raymond from Reuters has more:

More than 4,000 lawsuits are pending in federal and state courts arising out of injuries allegedly caused by the one-time blockbuster medication. Seven cases have now gone to trial, and Merck has won five and lost two.

Lawyers for Scheinberg, a 69-year-old New York resident, contended Fosamax caused her to suffer delayed healing and a bone disease of the jaw after a tooth extraction. The jury found that Merck’s failure to warn of the drug’s risks was a cause of her injury.

Attorney Timothy O’Brien issued the following statement about the verdict:

“This jury spoke clearly that Merck misled Mrs. Scheinberg’s doctor by hiding the risk of osteonecrosis of the jaw and exaggerating the benefits of Fosamax.

Only in America can a retired billing clerk from the Bronx go toe to toe with a $100 billion behemoth and win.

The verdict for Mrs. Scheinberg spoke the following truth to power:  the pharmaceutical system in the U.S. relies upon the drug companies to accurately disclose the risks and benefits of the drugs.  Because Merck did not use the labeling tools entrusted to it by the FDA, the system failed.  Mrs. Scheinberg trusted her doctor, her doctor trusted the label written by Merck.  Because that trust was betrayed by Merck, the system failed.”

Farron Cousins is the executive editor of The Trial Lawyer Magazine, a contributing writer to DeSmogBlog.com, and the producer of Ring of Fire.  Follow him on Twitter @farronbalanced.

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Farron Cousins is the executive editor of The Trial Lawyer magazine and a contributing writer at DeSmogBlog.com. He also hosts the weekly DeSmogCAST and serves as co-host for Ring of Fire on Free Speech TV. His writings have appeared on Alternet, Truthout, and The Huffington Post. Farron received his bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of West Florida in 2005 and became a member of American MENSA in 2009. Follow him on Twitter @farronbalanced