(CN) – A Manhattan federal judge dismissed a Mississippi woman’s lawsuit against Merck & Co., who claimed the osteoporosis drug Fosamax caused her jaw damage. The dismissal comes two months after contentious jury deliberations led to a mistrial in a similar case. It was the second of three so-called “bellwether trials” in a multi-district products liability litigation over the drug.
U.S. District Judge John Keenan ruled that Bessie Flemings, a smoker since she was 8 years old and whose oral hygiene was described as “poor” by her dentist, failed to prove that using the drug caused necrosis of her jaw.
Flemings claimed to have developed a bone sliver in her mouth in April 2006, eight years after first being prescribed Fosamax. Her tentist told her to stop taking the drug, unaware that another dentist had treated her sliver and a tongue ulcer that eventually healed, Keenan wrote.
Keenan said that Flemings’ primary dentist had no opinion on what caused the injury, and that her family doctor, Walter Rose, had only a “subjective belief” of what caused her to develop the sliver.
“A thorough reading of Dr. Rose’s deposition transcript reveals no other reasoning for his diagnosis other than a temporal relationship and ‘a little hum in the medical and dental community’ regarding the alleged link between” bisphophonates, the active ingredient in Fosamax, and necrosis of the jaw, the judge wrote.
Keenan declared a mistrial in September in another Foxamax case because of contentious jury deliberations.
Merck says the drug prevents bone fractures and bone loss.