Shirley Boles, courtesy of Michael Appleton, New York Times
The Shirley Boles case went to a jury of three men and five women yesterday afternoon. Attorneys for Ms. Boles, a retired deputy from the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, told jurors that she had to sleep at night with a towel to wipe away puss that oozes from her jaw, and that she avoids playing with her grandson for fear that he may accidentally break her fragile jaw. Without a doubt, she is a very compelling plaintiff with an unimaginable injury.
The jury is asked to decide:
- Was Merck/Schering-Plough negligent in formulating Fosamax?
- Did the company fail to warn Ms. Boles and her physicians of the risks of osteonecrosis of the jaw?
- Is Fosamax defective?
- Did Fosamax cause Ms. Boles’ jaw injury?
Merck, in the process of finalizing a $41 billion merger with Fosamax manufacturer Schering-Plough, is defending the cases (to the tune of $7 million in the second quarter of this year) and has budgeted $42 million to defend the other 900 to 1,200 federal and state Fosamax cases.
The bottom line of the companies has suffered, especially after the FDA required warnings about osteonecrosis. Fosamax had 15 million prescriptions in 2007—that number dropped to 2.6 million in 2008. As for worldwide sales, the drug sold $1.55 billion in 2008, a decrease of about 50% from the year before.
For more information on Fosamax and the ongoing litigation, see other posts of the DrugRecallLawyerBlog.