Articles Posted in Product Safety

ozempicpen-300x129Troubling but perhaps predictable news is traveling from a vanity trend-setting capital of this country: Hollywood stars have made the taking of a relatively new prescription drug, targeted for the treatment of diabetes, into a fad.

The injectable drug semaglutide, whose brand name is Ozempic, has become a must-have among A-listers because of one of its important outcomes among most users: dramatic weight loss. As Variety, one of the entertainment industry’s leading trade-media sources, reported about Ozempic:

“The drug is an insulin regulator for the pre-diabetic, made by the Danish pharma juggernaut Novo Nordisk, whose primary side effect is dramatic weight loss. It has saturated the industry in recent months, helping the beautiful and wealthy shed extra pounds in the never-ending Los Angeles pastime of optimizing appearances. Hollywood nutritionist Matt Mahowald tells Variety that the chief benefits of the injections are ‘moderating and pulling back insulin secretion and slowing down your stomach from emptying. It promotes satiation from food.’

jJlogo-300x139Federal appeals judges have expressed skepticism about the scheming by Big Pharma and other big corporations to twist U.S. bankruptcy laws to let wealthy, powerful defendants shield themselves from major claims of harms filed by plaintiffs seeking justice in civil courts.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia has been asked to rule on the “Texas two-step” that Johnson & Johnson resorted to when hit with an avalanche of lawsuits over its legendary baby powder and claims by tens of thousands of patients who assert that asbestos-tainted talc contributed to or caused their cancer, NPR reported, noting:

“An attorney for Johnson and Johnson faced probing questions … over the corporation’s use of a controversial bankruptcy maneuver that has frozen tens of thousands of lawsuits linked to Johnson’s baby powder. During the hearing, members of a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia asked whether J&J had used the legal strategy to gain ‘a litigation advantage’ over roughly 40,000 cancer patients who have sued the company.”

FDA-Logo-300x167Members of Congress, as usual, are racing to meet a deadline: This time, to determine the funding for the federal Food and Drug Administration, an agency with some of the most consequential responsibilities affecting Americans’ health.

In their furious political and financial machinations, though, lawmakers aren’t asking the tough, critical question about the FDA’s leading revenue source:

Is it a good idea for Big Pharma and medical device makers to pay most of the cost to run the nation’s watchdog of these giant, wealthy industries?

juullogo1-300x142Parents, educators, politicians, federal regulators, and advocates for Americans’ better health all should pause and consider the prime takeaways from a company’s willingness to strike a $439 million settlement with three dozen states figuratively shutting a barn door long after the nag has bolted.

Hint: Big Tobacco is relentless in its efforts to addict regular folks to products proven to destroy their health — and the financial payoff for doing so continues to be so potentially lucrative that most of us can hardly imagine.

Let’s back up just a bit for the basic facts: Juul, a San Francisco-based firm that federal officials have blamed for almost single-handedly creating the e-cigarette and vaping fad in recent years, reached a deal with 33 states and a U.S. territory to pay almost half a billion dollars over the way it marketed its products to teenagers and young adults.

Abbottlogo-300x77Big Pharma loves to blast away at opposition lawyers and their clients, criticizing them for seeking justice in the civil system over claims of significant harms. But, c’mon, man, as a certain top political leader likes to say to express his flabbergasted skepticism.

Wealthy corporations and their counsel marshal enormous, costly legal resources to bully, intimidate, and just bury in paperwork plaintiffs in civil cases, as the New York Times has reported. The newspaper has detailed how this almost standard operating procedure by huge law firms has complicated the nation’s effort to safeguard a critical foodstuff for the tiniest, most vulnerable among us — infants needing formula, especially specialized varieties.

The ferocious tactics by formula makers, notably the purportedly family friendly pharmaceutical company Abbott Laboratories, has shielded the industry and the company well but to the detriment of consumers learning important information about a widely used product that was the subject of many lawsuits but that stayed out of the spotlight for years, the newspaper reported:

eats-150x150The Biden Administration this month will tackle one of the major, persistent challenges that perplexes and damages the health and well-being of most regular folks: what they eat, as well as their regular sources of food.

The scheduled Sept. 28 White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health will be only the second of its kind in modern history and the first in almost a half a century, NPR has reported, adding that it will be a timely and notable event. As Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist and dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, told the broadcast news reporters:

“We’re really in a nutrition crisis in this country.”

battery-150x150As manufacturers press to shrink electronic devices, small children across the country are getting put at high risk of big harms by swallowing small button- and lithium coin-batteries, research shows.

The round, shiny, and ubiquitous batteries have proven to be irresistible to the pint-sized and curious, who gulp them down after they find them scattered around or pry them free from an array of gadgets, including, the New York Times reported, “television remotes, key fobs, thermometers, scales, toys, flame-free candles — even singing greeting cards.”

Grownups can be shocked by the damage the objects can cause, the newspaper reported:

smokingjoint-150x150Generation Z and young millennials have become the nation’s leading group of stoners, setting record highs for their use of marijuana, hallucinogenic drugs, nicotine, and booze.

This has occurred even as federal regulators have gotten called out for failing to crack down, after chest-thumping promises to do so, on the noxious but popular practice among the young of vaping.

The National Institutes of Health has conducted its annual “Monitoring the Future” survey of behaviors and attitudes of young adults since 1975, providing a much-watched, longitudinal snapshot of the lives and health of Americans ages 19 to 30. Its results this go-round are unsettling to those who monitor substance use and abuse in this critical age group, as the Washington Post reported:

fordlogo-300x123Even the strongest believer in the wisdom of juries in civil lawsuits had to take a pause. But, yes, the verdict in an Atlanta case has been correctly reported.  Jurors deliberating on the damages caused in roll-over of a Ford 250 truck did, indeed, order the automaker to pay the family of two people killed in the auto wreck a sum that apparently set a record in such a Georgia proceeding: $1.7 billion.

Jurors awarded that sum after years of litigation, described by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, thusly:

“Voncile Hill, 62, and her husband Melvin Hill, 74, died after their tire blew out on a Sumter County highway in 2014 and their 2002 Ford Super Duty F-250 pickup rolled over. They were farmers traveling from their Macon County home to Americus to pick up a tractor part, said James E. Butler, [an attorney with the firm] of Butler Prather [representing the couple’s family] … The children sued Ford and Pep Boys, among others. The jury determined Ford had sold 5.2 million ‘Super Duty’ trucks with weak roofs that would crush people inside during rollovers. The flaw was present in all ‘Super Duty’ models between 1999 and 2016, Butler said.”

cvsapp-150x150CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart are getting expensive lessons about corporate responsibility in filling prescriptions, as federal courts in San Francisco and Cleveland separately have faulted the companies for inundating communities with staggering quantities of addictive painkillers.

Those drugs caused such great harm that the three major drug chains must pay two Ohio Counties $650.5 million, a judge has decided.

The county governments told U.S. Judge Dan A. Polster — before whom has been consolidated thousands of lawsuits from states, counties, cities, other local governments, and Indian tribes — that they estimate they and their residents have suffered $3 billion in damages due to the opioid abuse and drug overdose crisis.  A November jury verdict in favor of the two Ohio counties already faulted the pharmacy chains for continuing “to dispense mass quantities of prescription painkillers over the years while ignoring flagrant signs that the pills were being abused,” the New York Times reported.

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