Honolulu woman sues pharmaceuticals maker

Attorney Gary Galiher represents plaintiff
Attorney Gary Galiher represents plaintiff
Lois Takamori
Lois Takamori
Carl Mudrick
Carl Mudrick

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Lois Takamori used to walk for miles and ride bicycles with her friends. In November of 2009, that active lifestyle suddenly stopped.

"I took one step backward and I felt this excruciating pain. At that time I didn't even suspect I broke a leg because I didn't fall. Nothing fell on me," she said.

Turns out the thigh bone in her left leg had snapped

"One of the strongest bones in the body looks like it got run over by a truck," attorney Gary Galiher said.

Takamori and her attorneys are suing pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co., Inc., over its prescription drug called Fosamax.

"Fosamax is a medicine that's used to treat osteoporosis, a condition where the bones are weakened, become brittle, and are capable of breaking," said pharmacist Carl Mudrick of Corner Pharmacy.

The medication is supposed to prevent bone breakdown and increase bone density. Under doctors orders, Takamori took it from 2001 through 2008.

"I think they didn't have the data on it that taking it long term produces more negative aspects than positive," she said.

Takamori's lawsuit claims Fosamax made her bones brittle.

This is the first legal action by a Hawaii resident against Merck. The New Jersey based company is involved in similar lawsuits involving women on the mainland.

"When you round those up and find this atypical fracture that's like a signature, it's like a beacon. What happened here? They've all been taking Fosamax," Galiher said.

In a statement to Hawaii News Now, Merck spokesman Ron Rodgers said: "Nothing is more important to Merck than the safety of its medicines and the patients who use them. We stand behind the safety and efficacy profile of Fosamax, and we encourage patients who have any questions about their health to speak with their physician."

The Food and Drug Administration now requires Merck to include warnings about prolonged use of Fosamax in its packaging.

Takamori is seeking civil damages.

"It's a devastating breakage because it doesn't heal," she said of her injury.

She is 62 and she walks with a cane.

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