This month’s Bulletin starts with a disappointing ruling on 500 lawsuits brought against Big Pharma giant Merck. We'll look at how the corporation avoided responsibility for its failure to warn consumers about the dire side effects of its drug Fosamax.
Then we'll delve into a report on the biggest cause of spinal fractures. It sheds light on why the Save Institute takes a multi-pronged approach to fracture prevention.
Finally, we'll look at a new study on the bone health benefits of an often-overlooked fruit. You'll find out why these sweet treats are so good for you, and how much it takes to reduce bone-damaging inflammation.
Merck Convinces Judge To Dismiss 500 Lawsuits
The pharmaceutical giant Merck has convinced a US District Court Judge to toss out 500 lawsuits brought by users of their osteoporosis drug Fosamax. The plaintiffs experienced atypical femur fractures from long-term use of the drug from 1999 to 2010.
The 500 lawsuits sought to hold Merck responsible for the lack of any warning label on the drug that would have alerted them that Fosamax could cause an atypical femur fracture. Merck knew about the risk but didn't add it to the warning label until January 2011, after the FDA ordered all manufacturers of bisphosphonate drugs to do so.
This legal case has been ongoing for more than a decade. In 2019 the Supreme Court ruled that the case should be decided by a judge. That left the final decision in the hands of District Judge Freda Wolfson.
“In an 87-page ruling, Wolfson said a 2009 letter by the FDA rejecting a warning Merck proposed concerning atypical femoral fractures demonstrated the drugmaker was not allowed to make the type of warning the plaintiffs desired.
While the plaintiffs' lawyers argued the letter did not mean the FDA would have rejected any and all warnings, Wolfson said “it is clear that the agency would not have approved a differently worded warning about such a risk.”
The judge dismissed the plaintiff's lawyer's assertion that this single rejection didn't prevent Merck from crafting a different warning label about the fracture risk.
This is a disappointing example of how the wealth and power of pharmaceutical companies make it possible for them to escape responsibility for the harm they cause.
Not all of the horrifying effects of Fosamax have been so easily dismissed though. The company recently reported facing 3,470 product liability lawsuits in federal or state courts involving Fosamax. In 2013, the company paid out more than $27 million dollars in cases brought by people whose jawbones deteriorated after taking the drug.
As these court cases make painfully clear, osteoporosis drugs like Fosamax are not safe– and may in fact cause the very fractures they claim to prevent.
Big Pharma corporation Merck convinced a US District Judge that it isn't responsible for its failure to warn consumers that its drug Fosamax can cause atypical femur fractures. The judge cited a letter from the FDA rejecting a warning label proposed by Merck. While these 500 lawsuits have been dismissed, Merck still faces thousands of lawsuits over harm caused by their drugs.
Traffic Accidents (Not Osteoporosis) Are The Biggest Cause Of Spinal Fracture
A report released by doctors at Medipol Mega University Hospital Orthopedics and Traumatology has identified traffic accidents as the most common cause of spinal fracture.
“Instructor Mehmet Akif Çaçan, its member, said, “The most common cause of traumatic fractures is traffic accidents (40 to 50 percent). The second common cause is falls (20 to 30 percent). Traumatic injuries are more common in young adults between the ages of 18-40. It is four times more common in men than women. Osteoporosis, that is, fractures due to bone resorption, are more common in women over the age of 50.”
This is an excellent reminder that while osteoporosis can increase the risk of fracture, fractures most often happen because of traumatic events or falls. Avoiding high-risk situations and decreasing the chance of falling should be seen as just as important as increasing bone mineral density. After all, even the strongest bone can be broken if exposed to sufficient pressure.
That's why the Osteoporosis Reversal Program takes a holistic approach to preventing fracture that includes strategies like increasing balance, building muscle strength, preserving eyesight, and making bone-smart choices.
A recent report identified traffic accidents as the most common cause of spinal fractures. This highlights the fact that increasing bone mineral density isn't enough to prevent fractures. Protecting your bones requires a variety of changes to reduce risk.
Daily Prunes For Bone Health
A new study has found that eating prunes every day reduces inflammation and protects bone.
Previous studies have linked the polyphenols in prunes to reduced levels of oxidative stress and inflammation in osteoclasts. Osteoclasts are the cells responsible for removing old and damaged bone.
This new study investigated how many prunes it takes to effectively reduce levels of inflammatory markers. Researchers worked with three groups of postmenopausal women with low bone mineral density scores.
“One group ate 50 grams of prunes a day or about six pieces of prunes each day for 12 months. Another group ate 100 grams of prunes, which is about a dozen prunes per day during the period. The third group did not eat prunes.
When they compared the blood samples of the participants before and after the nutritional intervention, they found that both of the groups that ate prunes had “significant” reductions in inflammatory markers compared to the group that did not eat prunes.”
The study's authors concluded that eating six to 12 prunes per day can help prevent bone loss in postmenopausal women by reducing pro-inflammatory mediators.
This is a great example of how dietary choices can help offset changes associated with aging.
Prunes are high in sugar, but they're also high in fiber. Their fiber content prevents them from causing a spike in blood sugar. But eating too much sugar is bad for your health and your bones, so it's best to keep your prune consumption on the lower end of the effective spectrum.
You can also reach for other polyphenol-rich foods that offer similar benefits. This strategy also has the benefit of sustainability. A diet with variety tends to be easier to maintain than eating the same exact thing every day,
Try some of these polyphenol rich foods:
Study participants who ate six to 12 prunes each day for a year experienced a significant reduction in inflammatory markers associated with low bone density. To avoid getting too much sugar in your diet, don't eat more than the minimum effective amount of prunes.
What This Means To You
Pharmaceutical companies attempt to convince consumers that bone mineral density is the only important factor for preventing fracture– and that their drugs are the solution. But today's articles further help confirm that they’re wrong.
Osteoporosis drugs cause terrible side effects, including atypical fractures. And Big Pharma's focus on bone mineral density overlooks the fact that preventing fractures requires a holistic approach that includes improving tensile strength.
The Osteoporosis Reversal Program applies the most up-to-date science to help you get healthier in every way. That includes dietary changes like increasing the polyphenols in your diet– whether from prunes or from any of a wide variety of plant sources.
When you take a holistic approach to preventing and reversing osteoporosis, you have a vast array of strategies and choices that can help you build stronger bones, and live a richer and more active life.