Alendronate, popularly known by its trade name Fosamax, is one of the commonly prescribed bone-sparing medication, manufactured and widely sold by pharmaceutical giant, Merck and Co. Classified within a group of bone-strengthening drugs called as biphosphonates, it mainly works by impeding bone tissue thinning by affecting the bone formation and breakdown cycle of the body. Formulated to provide sustained and elevated bone mass and strength, Fosamax is frequently written for patients of muscoskeletal disorders such as Paget’s disease of the bone, and has emerged as the most used drug for osteopenia prevention, and treatment for osteoporosis in men and in women especially those in their postmenopausal phase.
Some people and prescribing clinicians may think of the drug as a non-adverse formulation. However, some Fosamax users started filing lawsuits related to unwanted side effects of the drug in 2006. After the first of the bellwether trials alleging the medication may cause damage to the jawbone that eventually leads to its death, a condition known in medical terms as osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ), some consumers who may have also experienced the same fate reportedly followed suit.
Recently, a plaintiff from Illinois reportedly filed a lawsuit against the drug’s manufacturer Merck and Co. alleging the firm for suppressing the potential risks linked to prolonged Fosamax intake.
The lawsuit reportedly involved charges that include negligence, fraud, and breach of warranty. A trial has also been set in motion early this year — documented as the sixth Fosamax lawsuit that has gone to trial — over two separate claims. Allegations by two plaintiffs were reportedly lodged against the New Jersey-based drug manufacturer for purportedly suppressing essential information that may have warned patients of the bone-building medication’s potential adverse effects, specifically ONJ, and dental problems. In 2010, a 72-year old plaintiff was awarded by a jury of $1.5 million in compensatory damages, as the only one of five Fosamax trials that have gone to trial to be concluded with a verdict in favor of the plaintiff.
According to online reports, the drug maker has also been reported to be defending itself from two federal MDL cases of almost 1,000 lawsuits involving ONJ cases, and more than 450 pending cases from people with claims of having developed low-energy fractures from the use of Fosamax. Federal courts in New Jersey and New York were where these legal claims have been reportedly organized.
Fosamax has reportedly become a highly regarded biphosphonates drug since its introduction as the first drug bone-strengthening medication to enter the United States retail market in 1995, carrying up to 39 million prescriptions in 2005, according to national statistics.
The medication has been reported to be effective with bone thinning prevention in some people suffering from osteoporosis, despite its benefits, it has also been reportedly linked to potentially harmful health risks as revealed by several researches and reviews.