Everybody knows that money taints politics, but few understand just how powerfully it can impact “scientific” findings and organizations we might otherwise count on to help us. A recent study of more than 2 million statin users showed that statins harm more people than they help. The whole nature of cholesterol – its biological purpose, makeup, and the calibrations and mechanisms used to measure it, are all open-book subjects of debate for anyone who can find an hour to study the subject for herself. Nevertheless, the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) recently released new cardiovascular disease prevention guidelines that trumpet the wonders of statins and recommend them to an additional 13.6 million people not yet popping them daily.
After two infants were strangled to death by baby monitor cords made by Angelcare Monitors, Inc., the Canadian company announced last week that it was recalling 600,000 of its baby monitors.
A cord attached to a movement-monitoring sensor pad beneath the crib mattress poses a strangulation risk if a baby tugs the cord into the crib, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Besides the two babies strangled by Angelcare monitor, two others were reportedly found entangled in the cord, though not fatally.
AP reports Angelcare Movement and Sound Monitors with Sensor Pads were sold between 1999 and 2013 (for $100 – $300) by U.S. retailers Babies R Us, Toys R Us, Burlington Coat Factory, Sears, Walmart, Meijer, Amazon.com, Target.com, Overstock.com and some 70 specialty stores.
If you have a drug case, beware of what may be scam phone calls from someone posing as an FDA, IRS or other government representative. Several of our clients have told us they have received mysterious phone calls from a 202 area code (Washington D.C.). The caller identifies himself (or herself) as an FDA or IRS representative investigating their pharmaceutical drug case. We don’t know who these callers are, but these individuals could be posing as government officials. The best course of action is to politely decline to answer any questions. Then take all the caller’s contact information and the reason for the inquiry. Tell the caller you will have an attorney return the call. Then report this call to us immediately.
We always recommend that you do not tell anyone anything regarding your case or potential case.
Please email or call us if you get such a call, and we would be happy to investigate this matter further.
The number of Fosamax cases filed in the country against Merck, the maker of Fosamax, has continued to grow. The main injures in these cases are femur fracture and osteonecrosis of the jaw. Multidistrict Litigation courts (MDLs) have been set up in N.J. and in N.Y. to handle these injuries separately.
Some 4,100 cases of people claiming femur fracture as a result of Fosamax have been filed in the N.J. MDL and in state courts. More than 1,000 of them have been filed in the Fosamax Femur Fracture MDL.
Judge Joel Pisano of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey has set May 2014 for the bellwether trial of one femur fracture case.
More than 2,500 cases alleging Femur Fractures have been filed in New Jersey state court and are pending before Judge Higbee in Atlantic County Superior Court. The next trial there is scheduled to begin in March 2014. Roughly 500 cases alleging Femur Fractures have been filed in California state court.
Merck won at least one of the Fosamax trials on federal preemption grounds, but plaintiffs have also won jury trials against Merck over Fosamax; so this litigation will likely continue into several more trials before any sort of settlement can be reached, if one is ever reached, to bring justice to the thousands of people injured by Fosamax.
Vaccine makers have always worked hard to vaccinate themselves against liability when their vaccines cripple or kill people. They threatened Congress in 1982, saying they would no longer make vaccines at all unless they were completely vaccinated themselves against liability lawsuits. They got what they wanted, so this crazy statement is really true: Vaccine Makers are vaccinated by Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court against all liability for vaccine-related injuries.
Judges Guilty of violating their sworn duty do not have the right to sit on the bench in any court in judgement of anyone, whether Supreme Court judges or those in charge of lesser courts. The cozy relationship some U.S. Supreme Court judges have with corporate big shots may not make those judges guilty of bribery, of accepting bribes, but sometimes the activity can grow so egregious it is impossible not to prosecute judges, and not only take them off the bench, but send them to jail.
U.S. Supreme Court judges Antoin Scalia and Clarence Thomas have violated their sworn duty to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest (attending Koch brothers’-sponsored events, among other questionable activities); but even their scandalous ethical shortcomings pale compared to those of former barrister Mark Ciavarella. A former Pennsylvania juvenile court judge, Ciavarella was sentenced to 28 years in prison for taking bribes to send juveniles to a for-profit detention facility. Put on your puke bib for this one.
Prosecutors said that Ciavarella accepted nearly $1 million from a developer who built the prison facility.
Doctors with financial interest in spinal fusion surgery may be more apt to recommend it, according to a government study report on the billing of 1,000 Medicare patients. (See the Washington Post story)
The Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services focused the report on the spread of companies owned by physicians who profit from the high-dollar hardware used in spinal fusions. The price of equipment alone – plates, rods and screws – can top $11,000 for a single fusion.
The study showed that six months after a hospital began to purchase spinal devices from a doctor-owned distributorship, spinal fusion surgeries jumped an average of 21 percent, more than double that of other hospitals.
At a moment in time when President Obama’s healthcare plan is taking heat from both parties and putting healthcare at the top of the news, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) claimed this study shows a “direct correlation between the perverse financial incentives created by physician-owned distributorships and the rise in these highly invasive spinal surgeries.”
The U.S. FDA made a long overdue observation last week that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), the primary processed food source of artificial trans fat, are not “generally recognized as safe.” The FDA web site says that this “preliminary determination is based on available scientific evidence and the findings of expert scientific panels.” See the full FDA News Release.
It’s too late for the hundreds of thousands of people who have died of heart disease from trans fat consumption over the last 100 years or so (trans fats are as old as the FDA), but at least the FDA is doing something worthwhile now. Comments to the FDA are welcomed for 60 days on what it calls its “preliminary determination” to collect more data and knowledge on the time that may be needed for food processors to reformulate products that now contain artificial trans fat.
FDA Commissioner Margret A. Hamburg said, “While consumption of potentially harmful artificial trans fat has declined over the last two decades in the United States, current intake remains a significant public health concern. The FDA’s action today is an important step toward protecting more Americans from the potential dangers of trans fat. Further reduction in the amount of trans fat in the American diet could prevent an additional 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths from heart disease each year – a critical step in the protection of Americans’ health.”
Think twice the next time you accept a generic version of a brand-name drug. Americans are not protected by tort liability law if they become injured after taking a generic version of any drug. Though 84 percent of prescriptions written in the country are filled by a generic, the U.S. Supreme Court, in two hotly contested 5-4 votes, ruled to give international drug makers a free pass from liability whenever their generic drugs harm people. (See Pliva, Inc. v. Mensing and Mutual Pharmaceutical Co. v. Bartlett).
The makers of brand-name drugs, by contrast, can still be held accountable when the drugs they make harm people, that is, if those peoples’ attorneys can prove the drug maker failed to adequately warn of the potential harm, or else exaggerated the benefits, or perhaps simply committed negligence or fraud in getting the drug placed on the market in the first place.
Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay $2.2 Billion and plead guilty to a misdemeanor in a deal to settle a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into the marketing of Risperdal and other drugs.
Prosecutors had pursued J&J for nearly ten years after a whistleblower brought evidence that the company had promoted drugs for unapproved and sometimes harmful uses in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Prosecutors allege that J&J promoted Risperdal, an anti-psychotic for boys suffering from mental disabilities, despite knowing that using Risperdal could raise levels of a hormone known to stimulate breast development.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said at a news conference Monday that J&J “displayed a reckless indifference to the American people. [I]t constitutes a clear abuse of the public trust, showing a blatant disregard for systems and laws designed to protect public health.”