|FOSAMAX USERS LAWSUIT|
On Friday December 1, 2007 lawyers for Fosamax users who believe their jaws were damaged by the osteoporosis drug asked a federal judge to order Merck & Co. to provide a dental monitoring program for the drug's users.
If the case is certified as a class-action, claims can be pursued by users who believe the drug caused osteonecrosis of the jaw, a condition in which portions of the jaw bone die, sometimes leaving the bone exposed.
Hundreds of thousands of patients would benefit from a dental monitoring program that would include regular dental screenings, X-rays and lab tests, all aimed at preventing the need for dental surgery.
Questions about damage to the jaw caused by Fosamax have been circulating for years.
As many as one in every 296 patients who use Fosamax develop severe damage to the jaw, though Merck disputes this figure. Severe gastrointestinal discomfort is a more common side effect.
A class-action certification would allow for a trial where a jury could decide whether Fosamax is toxic and hazardous and whether Merck was negligent and should have warned users of dangers.
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