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Chrissie Cole
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Merck Ordered To Pay $8 Million In Fosamax Damages

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Merck’s first loss came on Friday when a jury awarded $8 million to a Florida woman who says the drugmaker’s osteoporosis drug, Fosamax, destroyed her jaw bone.

The case was brought by Shirley Boles, 72, of Fort Walton, Fla. She took the drug for ten years.

The first trial over Fosamax ended in a mistrial in September 2009 after the jury deadlocked and unable to reach a unanimous verdict. The second, and current trial, began on June 7.

"Both the finding and the amount of the compensatory damages are against the weight of the evidence," Bruce Kuhlik, executive vice president and general counsel said in a statement. "We believe the evidence showed that FOSAMAX did not cause the plaintiff’s injury and that it is a safe and effective medication that was properly designed."

The drugmaker intends to challenge the decision, said Paul Strain, Merck’s attorney.

Fosamax and similar drugs have been linked to other medical conditions in the past including heart irregularity, osteonecrosis of the jaw and most recently esophageal Cancer.

Merck is facing more than 1,400 lawsuits that allege patients have been harmed by Fosamax.