Author Archive

Dicamba – Further Questions

Friday, June 8th, 2018


A couple months back we promised you some interesting questions regarding the dicamba controversy. Here are some interesting controversies this case brings up beyond just the damage to crops. None of them have simple answers.

First, is Monsanto being held to an unfair standard? They make a product. The product comes with instructions. Is the manufacturer liable if the instructions are not adhered to?

How do we know if the product instructions are followed? Who is going to police the actions of farmers to make sure the instructions are followed so not to damage a neighbor’s crops? Did the manufacturer make a product assuming that the instructions would not be followed close enough to prevent damage to neighboring crops?

Next, with ever increasing technology, will farmers be forced to purchase Monsanto’s dicamba resistant products just to be able to bring their crops to market? Where does corporate R&D move from simple one-upmanship to deceptive trade practices?

I promised you questions. I don’t have answers for these just yet. Several of these cases will be headed to court. Those cases might provide some of the answers.

Or, they may just provoke even more questions. We’ll have to see.

Abra Pradaxa

Thursday, May 31st, 2018

It’s amazing what medical science can do. New medicines can sometimes it seem like magic.  But medicines are not magic.  

They need to be thoroughly tested to make sure they are not causing more harm than good.  

Case in point – Pradaxa: In 2010 the FDA approved the drug dabigatran under the brand name Pradaxa. It was approved to treat atrial fibrillaion. In 2014 it was approved for use to treat deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE). But it wasn’t magic. Pradaxa had a serious side effect – internal bleeding. And doctors didn’t find a way to mitigate that condition until 2014. This complication caused bleeding of the kidneys and in the gastrointestinal system. In addition, the drug may have led to dyspepsia, further heart problems, strokes, brain hemorrhages, and deaths associated with those conditions.

Boehringer Ingelheim, Pradaxa’s manufacturer, settled thousands of class action lawsuits in 2014, paying $650 million dollars.

But just settling some lawsuits didn’t make Boehringer’s problems go away like magic. There are still some suits out there, and some that are still being filed.

If you think you are having issues because you were prescribed Pradaxa, contact us right away. If you wait too long your chances of getting justice may vanish like a rabbit into a magician’s hat. Unlike the magic the stage magician uses, the statutes of limitations can make some things vanish forever.

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Meshy Business

Saturday, May 26th, 2018

You’ve heard the expression – always go with your gut feeling.  If your gut tells you something is wrong, even if you can’t figure out what it is, check it out.

Back in June we talked about Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary Ethicon and that they were withdrawing their Physiomesh product from the market. The Physiomesh is a fabric inserted into the body to help repair hernias. The Physiomesh was withdrawn for high revision rates. If you recall, the revision rate is measurement of how often a medical procedure such as surgery has to be redone. So if two out of every hundred procedure needed to be done the revision rate would be 2%.

In defending itself in a Georgia lawsuit regarding the failure of the Physiomesh to do an adequate job, one of the defenses Ethicon is putting forth is the physician instructions.

Let’s think about this.

Let say I make 300 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, 100 each with three different brands of bread. If the jelly squirts out the sandwich needs to be remade – we’ll call that the revision rate. So if the jelly squirts out twice with brand A bread, brand A has a 2 % revision rate. If the jelly squirts out four times with brand B, brand B has a 4% revision rate. Let’s say that the jelly squirts out twenty times with brand C. 

Now explain this to me – Did the instructions of how to make a PBJ really affect how often the jelly squirted out of the sandwich? Or was it the bread?

I know this is oversimplifying things, but in this instance the jelly squirting out is someone’s innards and probably pretty darn painful. And redoing abdominal surgery is a lot more pain and expense than making a sandwich.

Instructions? My gut says otherwise. How about yours?

If you are having complications due to Physiomesh, give us a call.

Revisiting Takata

Wednesday, March 28th, 2018

If you’ve been reading this blog regularly you’ve heard a bit about Takata. The company may not be a household name, but you’ve probably heard a bit about them. They’re responsible for one of the largest recalls in US history. They created airbags for over a dozen car manufacturers. These airbags were recalled in over forty million vehicles when it was discovered that they could inflate improperly and send shrapnel into the people they were supposed to be protecting from injury.

These issues caused Takata some serious legal issues. They have paid over 1 billion dollars in fines and they have been in bankruptcy. Fortunately, TK Holdings, the US division of Takata, has reached a resolution. The resolution has been approved by a bankruptcy judge and a a trust fund is being established to compensate those injured.

This fund, the Takata Airbag Individual Restitution Fund, will be run by special master Eric Green of Harvard. Several car manufacturers will be paying into the fund that will allow the fund to pay out millions to the hundreds of people who have been injured or killed as a result of the faulty devices.

The resolution agreement sets up funds with $125 million to compensate victims and $850 million to compensate automakers for the replacement installations, a process that is still ongoing and will continue probably for at least two more years.

Over forty million vehicles were affected by this recall. If you don’t know if your vehicle was one of them, check with your dealer. We hope you haven’t been personally affected by this, or any other recall of faulty automotive equipment. But if you have, give us a call.

Ford Recall – A Turning Point?

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

Ford is recalling over 1.3 million vehicles. The 2014-2018 Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ are being recalled for problems with their steering. The flaw in these vehicles allows a critical bolt in the steering column to vibrate and come loose. When that happens an important part of your vehicle not only stops working properly, it may even come off. Believe it or not, that important part is the steering wheel.

Now everyone likes driving a cool car. But there are some important parts of the car that are really critical. If you can’t stop, or you can’t steer, your car is effectively useless. It becomes a hazard to the driver and anyone who happens to get even near the vehicle.

If you have a Ford Fusion of Lincoln MKZ manufactured in those years, contact your Ford or Lincoln dealer and see if your vehicle is affected by recall 18S08. Steering wheels that detach are great for vaudeville routines and cartoons, but not real life where people depend on their vehicles to get to where they need to be.

Let’s Not Make Kids Sicker

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

 

No one likes to see their child suffer. When you kid is sick you want to comfort them and do anything you can to make them feel better.  And while the flu can be serious, it could be much worse.

But the last thing you want to do as a parent is make it worse.  But inadvertently some parents and drug makers are doing just that.

It’s one thing to have a kick sick with the flu, but psychosis and hallucinations?  Sometimes so bad that poor child wants to jump out a window?  That’s serious stuff.  I wish this wasn’t a  real example.  I’m usually a fan of a good flu pun, but I just didn’t think it appropriate this time.

Unfortunately, these can be some of the side effects of the popular flu medicine Tamiflu (also known as Oseltamivir). These are common enough that the drug has been banned in Japan for use in children for over a decade. The flu can be serious, but would you prefer that to potentially permanent neuropsychiatric problems, brain infections, convulsions, delirium and delusions?

We all want to relieve our children’s suffering. But parents and doctors need to be aware of the side effects that might be attached to the drugs given to relieve the suffering.

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