RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares (R) and several other state attorneys general are now supporting a group of Americans in a lawsuit against a pharmaceutical company for injuries they say they suffered while using their drug.
According to the Office of the Attorney General, over 500 lawsuits have been filed by Americans that used the osteoporosis drug Fosamax long-term between 1999 and 2010.
The plaintiffs allege that during this time, they dealt with atypical thigh bone and femur fractures and that Merck & Co., the company behind Fosamax, was previously aware their drug could cause such fractures.
Merck eventually added a warning label to Fosamax in 2011.
The plaintiffs previously brought their claims to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey to recover for their injuries.
The U.S. District Court ruled that because the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) had already rejected a warning label for risks of stress fractures, adding a warning about the risk of atypical femoral fractures was preempted.
“Preemption” means that a higher authority of law, in this case, the FDA, will displace a lower law authority if they come in conflict, according to Cornell Law.
These plaintiffs are now appealing this court’s decision, alongside the support of Miyares and 23 other attorneys general.
In their amicus curiae brief, Miyares and other state attorneys general argue that the District Court’s decision is harmful and could prevent states from being able to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable in the future.
“State laws that allow Virginians to come forward and hold massive pharmaceutical companies accountable for misleading them or providing false information are crucial aspects of consumer protection,” Miyares said in a statement. “The District Court’s decision here is wrong, strips important protection power away from the states, and should be overturned.”
Attorneys general from Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Vermont were also included in the coalition.