Author Archive

Agony of the Feet

Saturday, December 15th, 2018

Last time we talked about burning feet. This time we’re tackling a similar theme, but from a different cause. While it isn’t battery acid, uric acid buildup can cause a similar feeling – like your feet are on fire. Gout is the disease when uric acid builds up and causes swelling in the joints. It’s related to arthritis and can be debilitatingly painful. 

There are several treatments. One of the newer entrants is the prescription drug Uloric, or its generic name febuxostat. It was introduced by Takeda Pharmaceuticals in 2009 and was then the first new gout treatment in forty years. New treatments are welcome, but they need to be effective and safe. There is some debate on whether Uloric meets the latter criteria.

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A former safety consultant for the company has filed a whistle-blower suit. The doctor has alleged that Takeda’s drug interacts with several other drugs and that there are significant side effects. These include an increase risk of heart attack and strokes, according to FDA’s study released in 2017.

We’re all for new treatments and medications, but the treatment shouldn’t be worse than the disease. Even makers of gout medicines should toe that line. Doctors and consumers have a right and a need to know about possible interactions and/or side effects. If you are having issues related to a febuxostat prescription, step in and see us.

Hot Footin’

Friday, November 30th, 2018

Kids love to be trendy. In recent years one of the hot trends in kidswear has been shoes that light up. From just simple glitter to multicolored featuring various princess, Batman to Mickey Mouse, these have been features in kids footwear for several year now. But are they a harmless fad?  

Skechers carries over twenty different varieties in light up shoes for kids. But is Skechers, sketchy?  They already paid 40 million dollars in 2012 for making unsubstantiated claims of the health benefits of their “toning shoes.” Now they are facing a class action suit for their light up shoes. If the battery ruptures the acid can cause chemical burns on the feet on the people wearing the shoes. Glitter explosion indeed – they don’t market that brand anymore. Go figure. But they have carried over 100 different light-up varieties for kids.

If your munchkins are running around with light up-shoes – be aware that there are dangers in this product. They need to be inspected periodically to make sure nothing is leaking internally.  Never, ever put light-up shoes in a washing machine or drier.  This is something that the class action suit alleges that Skechers never bothered to tell people.

If your little one’s shoes light up and your child got burned in your purchase of shoes, hot foot in to see us.

Bad Medicine – Opioids and the real data

Thursday, November 15th, 2018



Opioids. Like it or not, they are out there. The come in an array of “flavors” like Codeine, Vicodin, Hycodan, Hydrocodone, Morphine, Percoset, MS- and Oxy- contin, and Duragesic. Opioids are more prescribed than blood pressure drugs, cholesterol controls, or anxiety medication.

They have a legitimate use in pain control. But they are addictive and prone to misuse. And when not used properly they are very dangerous.

And many lawyers are calling out the manufactures. The theory is that the manufactures are putting out a dangerous product only for the money, with no regard to the consequences, and no attempt to limit the danger to the community they are addicting.

Several manufactures, including Johnson & Johnson, Endo International, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Purdue Pharma and distributors like Cardinal and AmerisourceBergen, are being sued. Several states attorneys general are taking up the fight. But some states are being slow, so smaller localities and personal injury lawyers have taken up the fight. But even that may change. President Trump has instructed t he US Attorney General to sue companies that contributed to the opioid crisis.

Lawsuits are flowing on all sides. They say that the defendants have knowingly prescribed, created, distributed and/or sold a dangerous addictive product. Despite government efforts to slow the pace, overdoses and deaths continue. When a company distributes more bottles of opioids to a county than the population of that county, do they really expect people to believe that was a legitimate use for an dangerous, addictive product? (Link here for the story).

The chemical mechanism in opioids is very similar to that of heroin – no wonder it’s a problem. If misused, or negligently prescribed, it can easily lead to addiction. Manufacturers have been accused of failing to provide adequate warnings, misrepresenting the risks, failing to report suspicious sized orders and employing fraudulent endorsers.

Millions of people have had an opioid use disorder. Hundreds die every day from overdoses. We hope you are not wrestling with this problem.  If you are, you need to get help.  We can help with the legal stuff.

Sick of Fashion? Or is Fashion Making you Sick?

Friday, October 12th, 2018


Anyone who has see the original Star Trek knows that wearing a red shirt is hazardous to your health.  But that hazard may not be limited to wearing red.  It could be that a lot of clothing is hazardous to your health.   

JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association has found that exposing children to PFCs lessens their immunoresponse and lessen the effects of vaccination. PFCs have also been associated with a range of other health issues, from low birth rate to prostate cancer.

So, what are PFCs?  PFCs are perfluorinated compounds.  They are chemicals that have been around for years.  And they are often used in making clothing stain resistant and/or waterproof.  The chemicals are also found in common products like GoreTex, Teflon, and Scotchguard.

Other than the standard problem of being dangerous, PFCs are also chemically persistent.  That means it takes a long time for them to break down into less hazardous materials.  They may sit in the environment – or in our bodies, for years.  Or they could rest in the clothing that they treat.

And many clothing companies use a lot of these chemicals.  Greenpeace recently composed a report on several sportswear companies using these chemicals.  The report is here if you’d like to read it.  But the gist of it is that the companies are using a lot of these chemicals that can be hazardous to those making the clothes, and possibly those who are wearing the clothes.  And these chemical like to stick around.  Below is a map of where some PFCs have been found in drinking water.

And it’s not just the clothes.  PFCs are becoming a problem in that the chemical contaminant are hanging around in our drinking water.  But by having them in the clothing we wear, that’s literally rubbing it in.

FDA Blocking Sunscreen

Friday, September 28th, 2018

Melanoma is no laughing matter. A big factor is how much exposure people get to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. We are all for holding responsible parties to account, but it’s hard to hold the sun accountable.

So if you go out in the sun, as the song goes, wear sunscreen. But will that be enough? Not necessarily.

UV radiation of concern comes in two types, A and B. There are other types, but these are filtered by the atmosphere, so we won’t cover those. UV A radiation causes wrinkles and is what causes you to tan. It may also contribute to skin cancer. UV B is the radiation that reddens your skin and causes sunburn, and we have proof that this radiation causes cancer. Yet sunscreen protects us, right?

You’d think so. But the sunscreen we can get in the US may be subpar. The FDA regulates sunscreen as a drug. That means that companies have to jump through sixteen bajillion hoops to change their ingredients and give us more effective sunscreen. In Europe and Australia sunscreen is treated as a cosmetic so companies can change ingredients fairly quickly when they find more effective ingredients. That allows better protection from the sun. When is the last time the FDA approved a new ingredient for sunscreen? 2002.

On top of that, do you know how often the FDA test the sunscreens on the market?  No?  Me neither, because they don’t have a regular schedule.  According to William Wallace, policy analyst for Consumer’s Union, “Most of the time, a sunscreen’s effectiveness has been verified only by the manufacturer and any testing lab it might decide to use—and not by the government.”

So, are we getting burned by the sun, or the inaction of our own government? Perhaps it’s time for the FDA to stop blocking sunscreen.

Another Roundup with Monsanto

Friday, September 14th, 2018

A while back we talked about Monsanto and their use of glycophosphate (the principal ingredient in Roundup ™ ). We said it would be problematic and things will have to be determined. Well, it’s time that things start to get determined all right. And speaking of Time – you can check out their coverage of this right here.  

Long story short, the jury unanimously awarded the victim 39 million dollars, and socked Monsanto with $250 million dollars in punitive damages in a judgment for failure to warn users of the pesticide of potential health hazards associated with their chemical. Monsanto was bought by Bayer in 2016. And, what a surprise, Bayer will be retiring the Monsanto name. They probably hope that their reputation as a medicine maker will offset the negative associate the Monsanto brand carries.

But will that work? There are another five thousand cases already in the pipeline of the US’s legal system. Glycophosphates were found to be “probably carcinogenic” by the World Health Organization back in 2015. There is a correlation between farming with pesticides and incidences of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.  Monsanto claims it is safe, yet they have a study from over 30 years ago that says otherwise. That study, entitled “A Chronic Feeding Study of Glycophosphate (Roundup Technical) in Mice,” found a statistical increase in tumors in mice exposed to glycophosphate. And in 1985 an EPA statistician wrote disagreeing with Monsanto stand on glycophosphate. He wrote, “Glycophosphate is suspect. Monsanto’s argument is unacceptable.”

And yet here we are. We hope you aren’t having to deal with this terrible disease. But if you are, you need legal help. Talk to an attorney to find out how you can get that help. If you want to talk to us, you can contact us through the website or call us at 877-717-5342.    

Risky Business

Friday, August 31st, 2018

Thousands of people across the US have bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia and/or depression. Treating these illnesses is serious stuff. Many people have been pharmaceutically treated for these illnesses with Ariprazole (brand name – Abilify) or its successor drug, Brexpriprazole (brand name – Rexulti).

Taking a medicine always involves a risk. For example, these medicines don’t interact well with citrus. But taking a medicine shouldn’t make you more prone to taking risks.

Yet these medicines may drive people to give into their more compulsive urges. That could be gambling, binge eating, sex, or shopping. Yet the first mention of this connection was made in Abilify’s warning label in 2016.  Abilify became available in 2002.

Occasional compulsive behavior is problematic. But if it goes on for fourteen years, that can cause some serious damage.  And that might require some serious legal help. 

If you’ve developed compulsive behavior and were taking one of these drugs, the drug may be a big part of the problem. If that’s the case, come talk with us. It’s a gamble you can’t afford to lose.

Robots Behind the Wheel

Friday, August 17th, 2018

Nikola Tesla made the prediction in the quote above in the last century. Perhaps now it might be more accurate replace slave labor with manual labor, but the point remains the same.

Well, it’s the twenty-first century, but we’re not quite to the point where robot’s labor is doing most of the work. But we seem to be on the way. And the company named after Tesla, Tesla Motors, is a pioneer in replacing labor in part of that. But with every pioneering venture, some things are venturing into parts unknown.

A big unknown is who is going to be responsible when the robot behind the wheel screws up and kills someone? It’s already happened – more than once. In March a Tesla on “Autopilot” failed to stop and crashed into a firetruck stopped on a highway, killing the “driver” of the car.

Tesla claims their Autopilot feature is a driver assistant tool, not a driver replacement. The human driver needs to be ready to take over if needed. According to the vehicles records, the human was warned at several times to pay more attention to what the vehicle was doing and to put human hands back on the steering wheel.

So who will be responsible? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administation (NHTSA) investigated a Tesla autopilot fatality from last year and found that the Tesla’s system was operating as intended. Furthermore, it noted that cars with the “Autopilot” feature were involved in crashes 40% less than average. On the other hand, the National Transportation Safety Board said that Tesla should bear part of the blame for putting out a system that was so easy to misuse.

So who is responsible for a robot’s behavior when it does something wrong? The owner is responsible when a dog misbehaves. But a dog is capable of its own independent judgement without human assistance. And we hardly trust a dog, no matter how well trained, with the judgement to guide a vehicle moving at 60 mph and weighing over 1000 pounds. The issue of liability comes down to control. But do you have a responsibility to control your vehicle? Or are you at the whim of the software? And we’re not even considering whether your robot has been hacked at this stage. Will liability be determined by the autonomy level of the vehicle?

So the robots are not ready to take over quite yet.

Knee Recalls and Kicking Buckets

Friday, August 3rd, 2018

As joints go, the knee is pretty simple. It allows the leg to bend in one direction. Compared to the complexity of directions allowed by the shoulders, hips, and wrists, it does just one thing. So it needs to do it well. And just as your knee has to do it well, so do the replacements when they become necessary. Alas, it doesn’t always happen that way.

Zimmer is the world’s largest manufacturer of artificial knees. And they are having a recall on their Persona Knee implants. Technically the full name is the Zimmer Persona Trabecular Metal Tibial Plate knee implant, but we’re just going to call it the Persona.

The Persona is having issues. It can cause Radiolucent lines – these are large gaps in between the knee replacement component and the bone, which can be problematic.

These problems may include implant failure, pain, swelling, tissue damage and osteolysis (medical for bone damage). This may need to have the knee replacement redone completely – as if having it done the first time wasn’t fun enough.

In theory, a knee implant should last twenty years. Yet many of these have failed within three years. If the complications are serious enough it could be deadly.

If you have had a knee replacement and are having issues talk to your doctor.  And talk to us.

Pressure Cooking in Summer

Friday, July 20th, 2018

Pressure Cooking in Summer

As the weather is hot, it’s a nice break now and then to think of winter and the holidays.  When I think of the winter holidays, I also think about the great food associated with it.  We all want something good to eat, and here’s a link to some appropriate music to go with it.  Don’t worry – I’m not sending  you to Christmas music in July.

We all want to make something special for our loved ones, especially over the holidays. Alas, one company has made this challenging. Tristar Products makes a pressure cooker that they promoted as an “amazing, one-button kitchen miracle.” I probably wouldn’t use that word. That “kitchen miracle” has a habit of not being able to handle the pressure of the holidays – or any other time.

The Power Pressure Cooker XL has a nasty habit of exploding. This has caused severe burns to a number of people.

Pressure cookers can be tricky. Several companies that have made them and had problems over the years. But the problems with the Tristar model were so numerous that judges have approved a class action lawsuit to try to deal with the claims.

No one likes to be sold a faulty product. No one likes to get burned – Sorry, but in this case, pun intended. If that happened to you, let us help.

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