September 2, 2016 / 11:30 AM / a year ago

Merck scraps development of osteoporosis drug due to stroke risk

(Reuters) - Merck & Co Inc said it would stop developing its experimental osteoporosis drug after an independent analysis confirmed the treatment raises the risk of stroke.

While the drug, odanacatib, reduces the risk of osteoporotic fractures, the increased risk of stroke in a late-stage study in postmenopausal women does not support further development or regulatory approval, the company said on Friday.

Osteoporosis, which means “porous bone”, occurs when bones

become weak and brittle.

About one in two women and up to one in four men aged 50 and older will break a bone due to osteoporosis, according to the Virginia-based National Osteoporosis Foundation.

Merck had said in 2014 that treatment with the once-weekly odanacatib had resulted in higher cases of stroke versus placebo in the key late-stage study. (bit.ly/2c9Z9JA)

Reporting by Natalie Grover in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva

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