Blog Posts in April, 2006

  • UnitedHealth’s CEO Makes Billions While Health Care in Crisis

    A recent article in the Wall Street Journal points out yet another CEO the makes millions, even billions, in industries that are in crisis. “Unrealized gains on [CEO] Dr. McGuire’s options totaled $1.6 billion, according to UnitedHealth’s proxy statement released this month. Even celebrated CEOs such as General Electric Co.’s Jack Welch or International Business Machines Corp.’s Louis Gerstner ...
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  • Fosamax Linked to Rare Jaw Disorder

    Fosamax is a widely prescribed drug to treat osteoperosis. The drug is included in a class of drugs called bisphosphonates, which work by inhibiting the bone function which removes old bone so that new bone may be laid. The drug, as reported in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, is linked to a rare and serious jaw bone disorder called Osteonecrosis of the Jaw or “ONJ”. Individuals who ...
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  • Merck Loses Again in Texas Vioxx Case

    A Texas state jury awarded $7 million in compensatory damages and an additional $25 million in punitive damages to the family of a 71 year old man who died of a heart attack after one month of Vioxx use. The jury found that Vioxx caused the man’s heart attack, and that Merck willfully withheld important information regarding the drug’s cardiovascular risks from the FDA, doctors, and the American ...
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  • Attention Deficit (ADHD) Drugs Linked to Cardiovascular Risk

    A recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine discusses the widely prescribed class of drugs to treat ADHD and their association with cardiovascular events. On February 9, 2006, the Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee of the FDA voted by a narrow margin to place a black box warning on all ADHD drugs for cardiovascular risks such as heart attack and stroke. In spite of the ...
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  • DuPont Dumped Poisonous C8 in Drinking Water

    The residents of the Mid-Ohio Valley in West Virginia were poisoned by Teflon maker DuPont for years without knowing it. Known to be poisonous since the early 1960’s perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), or “C8”, the chemical is used to make Teflon. A spike in cancer rates and birth defects in the effected region caused the residents to raise questions and ultimately file a lawsuit against DuPont. The ...
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  • Contact Lens Solution Linked to Fungal Dermatitis

    The FDA has received an increased number of reports of the fungal dermatitis of the eye, or Fusarium, among soft contact lens wearers. A high number of those with the infection reported having used a Bausch & Lomb ReNu brand contact lens solution in the month prior to the onset of the infection. Without proper treatment, this rare but serious infection may scar the cornea and blind users. Symptoms ...
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  • Jury Awards $9 Million in Punitive Damages in New Jersey Vioxx Case

    The same jury that found Merck failed to properly warn and committed consumer fraud in two Vioxx cases last week, awarded $9 million in punitive damages as punishment for Merck’s malfeasance. In the ‘two trials in one’ last week, the jury held Merck accountable for failing to timely warn of Vioxx’s cardiovascular risks, finding that Vioxx was a substantial cause in one plaintiff’s heart attack and ...
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  • Med-mal Insurer Sees Claims Fall

    The annual report filed by Illinois’ largest medical malpractice insurer, ISMIE, shows that claim payments fell, while profits and executive pay rose last year. The filing indicates that claims fell by 5.3%, the second drop in as many years. At the same time, salaries for executives increased by as much as 33%, with the CEO’s pay increasing 4.5% to $1 million a year. Let us not forget that ISMIE’s ...
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  • New Jersey State Vioxx Jury Finds Merck Failed to Warn of Heart Attack Risks

    The second New Jersey state trial, involving two plaintiff’s cases in the same trial, ended yesterday with the jury finding that Merck failed to properly warn of Vioxx’s risks of heart attack and stroke. The jury awarded the 77 year old plaintiff $4.5 million in compensatory damages, finding that Vioxx substantially caused his heart attack. The jury only awarded the 60 year old plaintiff in the ...
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  • Drugs for Parkinson’s Disease Linked to Obsessive Behaviors

    A recent article in the Washington Post details a rather bizarre, and potentially catastrophic, side effect of drugs used to treat Parkinson’s Disease. The drugs, including Permax and Mirapex, work as dopamine agonists, which increase the levels of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is associated with many addictive behaviors such as gambling and sex manias. Particular cases described in the article ...
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  • Texas Jury Awards $160 Million in Nursing Home Assault Case

    The Estate of Tranquilino Mendoza sued Summit Care Corporation on a negligence theory for the injuries sustained by Mr. Mendoza when he was assaulted and battered by a mentally ill patient of the nursing home where Mr. Mendoza was living who was placed in the room with Mr. Mendoza. His roommate beat Mr. Mendoza with a water pitcher, a glass and his fists two days after being moved into the room ...
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