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Stories in the September 3, 2009 editions of the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal Law Blog mentioned Venable partner Paul Strain in the publications’ coverage of the closing arguments of the first trial in the approximately 900 state and federal cases pending against Merck in which plaintiffs claim that taking Fosamax caused them to develop a rare problem called osteonecrosis of the jaw.

In the first case against Merck, which began last month in Manhattan federal court, a 71-year-old Florida woman alleges that taking Fosamax for several years caused her jawbone tissue to die. A jury of three men and five women began deliberating the case on Wednesday afternoon.

Merck’s main defense is that there is no definitive medical evidence proving that Fosamax causes jawbone death and that the plaintiff in the Manhattan case had other health factors that could have caused her jaw problems.

Meanwhile, lawyers for the plaintiff, have been using the case to put Fosamax itself on trial, contending that Merck as a corporation put patients at risk by overpromoting Fosamax and by not warning doctors who prescribe the drug about the potential for jawbone disintegration.