Merck & Co has lost its chance to shelve 24 lawsuits brought by patients that claim the drug Fosamax (alendronate) caused “jaw death” when taken for less than three years.

US District Judge John Keenan refused to dismiss the lawsuits saying there was sufficient evidence for a jury to link the osteoporosis drug to osteonecrosis of the jaw.

Merck faces almost 900 lawsuits from patients who claim the drug damaged their jaw. A Manhattan jury is currently deliberating on the potential liability of one of these cases.

Judge Keenan also ruled that two expert witnesses could be included in the plaintiff’s testimony but rejected the inclusion of a third expert, Dr Robert Marx, because of questions over whether his testimony would be “sufficiently reliable”.