Today you’ll read about an outrageous jury verdict in favor of Merck and sneaky tactics that Big Pharma is using to sound “supportive” of the osteoporosis community.
But it’s not all bad. There’s also some encouraging news showing that a growing number of osteoporosis “patients” are making independent decisions about their bone health.
So let’s get started with the bad, the sneaky, and the good.
Merck Wins Again – Shameful!
Merck, the maker of Fosamax, has won the most recent femur fracture lawsuit, filed by Bernadette Glenn. She suffered a spontaneous femur fracture when she bent over to pick up a lawn ornament while gardening. Ironically, Bernadette Glenn had been taking Fosamax for seven years, even though she was never diagnosed with osteoporosis. Her doctor prescribed Fosamax for osteopenia, as a “preventive” measure.
“Merck & Co. (MRK), the second-biggest U.S. drugmaker, said a jury found in its favor in a trial over claims its Fosamax osteoporosis treatment caused a woman’s femur to fracture spontaneously while she was gardening.
The verdict was handed down today in federal court in Trenton, New Jersey, Merck said in a statement, and it couldn’t immediately be confirmed in court records. The case is the first of about 3,300 femur-fracture lawsuits against the company to be decided by a jury.
Bernadette Glynn, 58, sued Merck over claims the company, based in Whitehouse Staion, New Jersey, was aware Fosamax might cause brittle bones and increase fracture risks years before the drug was made available to the public. The case was seen as a bellwether for how other cases might be resolved.
‘The company provided appropriate and timely information about Fosamax to consumers and the medical, scientific and regulatory communities,’ Bruce Kuhlik, Merck’s general counsel, said in the statement.1
“‘We are of disappointed in the verdict in Mrs. Glynn’s case,’ her lawyer, Paul Pennock, said in an e-mail. ‘We will, however, continue the important efforts to hold Merck accountable for their conduct with respect to Fosamax.’”
Let’s keep in mind that femur fractures are rare, which is why they are called “atypical.” You see, femurs (the strongest bones in the body) don’t snap just like that, unless there’s tremendous impact, such as a major car accident, or when the bone is artificially weakened.
But it seems that in the upside-down world of Modern Medicine, it makes sense to prescribe a drug that weakens bones to the point of fracture… in order to attempt to increase bone density.
The jury exonerated Merck from any blame because apparently, Bernadette Glynn should have known that Fosamax “might cause brittle bones and increase fracture risks.”
What this verdict implies is that patients should not follow their doctor’s recommendations, because whenever something goes wrong, it’s their own fault.
The safest and most effective way to treat osteoporosis is without dangerous drugs. The Osteoporosis Reversal Program shows you how to do that and more, including how to let your doctor know that you won’t be taking the prescribed drugs in a way that it won’t interfere with your doctor/patient relationship.
Sneaky Trick: Big Pharma Hides Behind “National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month”
May has been declared “National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month.” Ostensibly, it’s for the purpose of raising osteoporosis awareness through early detection and preventative treatment. But if we dig a little deeper, it’s quite easy to discover that there’s an ulterior motive to this designation.
“This month the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) will celebrate National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month in conjunction with a new campaign, called Healthy Bones, Build Them For Life®. As the nation's leading voluntary health organization solely dedicated to promoting lifelong bone health and fighting osteoporosis, NOF's goal is to reduce the widespread prevalence of osteoporosis and associated fractures and to find a cure for the disease through programs of awareness, education, advocacy and research. This exciting new campaign will give NOF a platform to continue to address the vital need for increased education for the awareness, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis while working to make bone health a reality and a priority for everyone.”2
This sounds supportive and helpful, even caring. But in reality, this is simply another sneaky way for Big Pharma to promote tests and medical treatments for osteoporosis. You see, osteoporosis “awareness” means more DXA scans and diagnoses of osteoporosis and osteopenia. Basically, osteoporosis “prevention and treatment” automatically translates into more prescriptions for osteoporosis drugs.
The sad reality is that this strange “celebration” is about generating more business for the pharmaceutical industry and for the companies that manufacture medical equipment like DXA scan machines.
Take a look at this statement from the National Osteoporosis Foundation’s (NOF’s) Corporate Advisory Roundtable (CAR), and you’ll understand why I’m writing this:
“CAR members identify issues of common concern to NOF and companies with products and services that benefit people in the prevention, detection and treatment of osteoporosis.”3
Let’s look a little closer. Who are these CAR members? Listed with their colorful logos on the NOF site, members include:
- Hologic (DXA scan manufacturer)
- Novartis Pharmaceuticals (makers of Reclast)
- Amgen (maker of Prolia)
- Roche (maker of Boniva)
In essence, the month of May is yet one more way for the medical community to “find” low bone density patients and get them started on osteoporosis drugs. Most of the newly diagnosed “patients” during this Awareness Month will take the prescribed treatments without hesitation. But fortunately, as you’ll read on, there are signs that this trend is slowly but surely turning around.
Standing Up for Drug-Free Options: More Women are Choosing Not to Fill Their Osteoporosis Prescriptions
Here’s some good news for the Save Our Bones community. But apparently, mainstream medicine finds it quite troubling.
“A study by Kaiser Permanente of the medical records of 8,454 women, ages 55 years or older shows that nearly 30 percent of women failed to pick up their bisphosphonate prescriptions, a medication that is most commonly used to treat osteoporosis and similar bone diseases.
The Kaiser researchers found that older women who had used the emergency department in the past years were less likely to pick up their bisphosphonate prescriptions, while women who were taking other prescription medications and those who had been hospitalized in the past years were more likely than average to pick up their prescriptions [sic].”4
It’s highly likely that this information is flawed, because it does not take into account the fact that many osteoporosis “patients” do not tell their doctors when they don’t take the prescribed drugs.
“One factor that increased adherence was the relative experience of the prescribing physician, the study noted. Women who received a bisphosphonate prescription from a physician who had practiced for 10 or more years at Kaiser Permanente were more likely to pick up their prescriptions than those who received their prescription from a doctor with less than 10 years experience.”4
It’s interesting that an older, more experienced doctor is more likely to get medication compliance from his or her patients. Ironically, it’s often the more experienced doctors who are the most “set in their ways” and closed to new ideas. Either way, it’s been shown that most doctors, regardless of experience level, don’t keep up with the latest research.
“Medication non-adherence is a significant health problem in this country with some estimates indicating that as many as one-in-three patients who are given a prescription fail to fill it. Further, nearly three-quarters of all people do not take their prescription medications according to the providers’ orders.
In all, nonadherence [sic] causes as many as 125,000 deaths yearly and costs the healthcare system nearly $300 billion per year.”4
Really? This seems a little difficult to prove! And it completely fails to compare the so-called “costs” of non-adherence with the very real costs associated with treating the terrible side effects of osteoporosis drugs.
The reality is that drugs themselves are dangerous, and cause far more deaths than automobile accidents. It’s hardly reasonable for the medical community to complain about the so-called health hazards of NOT taking medications!
Of course, I applaud the trend and hope it continues. It would be wonderful to see fewer and fewer people taking dangerous and damaging osteoporosis drugs. If you’re already following the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, you can pat yourself on the back.
Also, it means the world to me to know that so many of you tell family, friends, and colleagues about Save Our Bones… I humbly thank you for helping me spread the truth about osteoporosis.
And stay tuned, because new and exciting things are coming soon to Save Our Bones.
Here’s to more osteoporosis news being good news!
1 Larson, Eric. “Merck Says Jury Rules in Its Favor in Fosamax Trial.” Bloomberg. April 29, 2013. Web. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-29/merck-says-jury-rules-in-its-favor-in-fosamax-trial.html
3 National Osteoporosis Foundation. https://nof.org/about/nof-corporate-advisory-roundtable
4 Anderson, Chris. “Nearly 30 percent of women don’t fill osteoporosis prescription.” Healthcare Finance News. April 23, 2013. Web. https://www.healthcarefinancenews.com/news/nearly-30-percent-women-dont-fill-osteoporosis-prescription