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Fosamax, manufactured by Vioxx maker Merck & Co., is an osteoporosis drug highly touted by its manufacturer. The drug garnered $3.2 billion in 2005 sales but is now linked to osteonecrosis whereby users of Fosamax experience a rotting and death of the jaw bone. Fosamax, which contains the active compound bisphosphonate, increases bone mass and reduces the risk of fractures in postmenopausal women, and also treats osteoporosis in men. Merck’s response is typically vague: “Most reported cases of bisphosphonate-associated osteonecrosis have been in cancer patients treated with intravenous bisphosphonates, but cases have occurred in patients with postmenopausal osteoporosis and other diagnoses,” said a statement released by Merck.

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