Articles Posted in Product Safety

drugs-300x179How has Big Pharma responded to the dire and uncertain circumstances facing American’s health and pocketbooks? By jacking up prescription drug prices and likely jabbing patients not just in the arm but also the wallet for a prospective coronavirus vaccine.

As the online news and politics site Politico reported:

 “Drug makers raised the price of hundreds of medicines during the coronavirus pandemic, even in the face of Trump administration vows to crack down on surging drug costs and efforts to tack price controls on Covid-19 relief packages. Pharmaceutical companies logged more than 800 price increases this year and adjusted the cost of 42 medicines upward by an average of 3.3% so far in July, according to GoodRx, which tracks the prices consumers pay at pharmacies.

drugcrisisjulyodwoes-300x219With the novel coronavirus crushing the economy and helping to fuel joblessness, individuals’ isolation, and increasing hopelessness and despair among the already troubled, the opioid drug abuse and overdose crisis again is worsening — and fast.

As the Washington Post reported of what had been one of the nation’s leading public health nightmares before the Covid-19 pandemic:

“In Roanoke County, Va., police have responded to twice as many fatal overdoses in recent months as in all of last year. In Kentucky, which just celebrated its first decline in overdose deaths after five years of crisis, many towns are experiencing an abrupt reversal in the numbers. Nationwide, federal and local officials are reporting alarming spikes in drug overdoses — a hidden epidemic within the coronavirus pandemic.

elijahmmug-246x300The national outage over authorities’ excessive use of force, especially against black men, may take law enforcement, first responders, politicians, and critics into a murky and nightmarish area — call it the unfounded medicalization of official control.

Two fatal flash point cases — involving African Americans George Floyd in Minneapolis and Elijah McCain (shown, right) in a Denver suburb — already have raised disturbing questions about “excited delirium,”  a mental health description or diagnosis manufactured by authorities, and whether paramedics should be asked and then if they should administer powerful narcotics to individuals at police request.

As the nonprofit, independent Marshall Project on criminal justice reported about excited delirium:

bayerlogo-150x150Leave it to corporations, even with the pressure of the civil justice system, to figure billions of ways to never say they are sorry — and to leave consumers hanging about problematic products and practices.

Johnson and Johnson just won a pyrrhic victory, prevailing in an appeals court, so a Missouri record $4.69 billion loss now has become $2.1 billion.

jjlogo-300x116That is the sum the court said the company owed women who developed female reproductive cancers after long use of the company’s famed baby powder. J&J insists its product is safe. But the appeals judges, while reducing the award against the conglomerate, also affirmed that J&J knew its talc was tainted with cancer-causing asbestos.

fourth-225x300The United States heads into a long weekend celebrating 244 years of its independence in the deepening thrall of a microscopic killer. And political partisans, with their failure to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, will push further still in the days ahead to divide what has been a remarkable, diverse union of states. Unlike virtually every other advanced country on earth, the pandemic in the United States has become politicized and partisan, to the detriment of our nation.

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 2.5 million in this country, killing at least 127,000 — more individuals than the U.S. casualties in World War I or the combined deaths the nation tallied in prolonged campaigns, combined, in Vietnam, Korea, and Iraq. The disease also may be far more widespread than believed — an even more worrisome possibility, health officials warn.

Despite the unfounded and magical assertions by President Trump, the summer has offered no letup to the predicted sickness and dying.

algorithmwoes2-300x200High-tech wizards may be pushing medicine into a brave new world where important medical decisions rely on supposedly data-driven findings that also may be rooted in an old malignancy: discrimination against black patients.

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine warns that race-based tools and formulas, algorithms aimed to assist doctors in speeding up their diagnosis and treatment in such areas as heart disease, cancer, and kidney and maternity care, improperly steer blacks away from therapies commonly given to whites without sound reasons, the New York Times reported:

“The tools are often digital calculators on web sites of medical organizations or — in the case of assessing kidney function — actually built into the tools commercial labs use to calculate normal values of blood tests. They assess risk and potential outcomes based on formulas derived from population studies and modeling that looked for variables associated with different outcomes. ‘These tests are woven into the fabric of medicine,’ said Dr. David Jones, the paper’s senior author, a Harvard historian who also teaches ethics to medical students. ‘Despite mounting evidence that race is not a reliable proxy for genetic difference, the belief that it is has become embedded, sometimes insidiously, within medical practice,’ he wrote.”

dcfireems-300x145At least three recent deaths  in the DC area offer a grim reminder about the summer’s heat and the risks of drowning. With the Covid-19 pandemic changing the easy and relaxed availability of public and supervised pools and other cool water recreation spots, will this be a harbinger of needless tragedies?

Here’s hoping not.

But authorities have issued stern warnings already about swimming in the Potomac River, where they caution that the currents run stronger and the waters can be chillier than casual enthusiasts may expect. It is illegal to swim in the Anacostia and Potomac, primarily due to pollution concerns. As the DCist news site reported, though:

escooterzerali-300x201As visitors and workers in the Washington, D.C., area slowly return from the Covid-19 home-stay restrictions, they may be hit with a worry about a different kind of distancing: Keeping themselves safe on byways more heavily trafficked by bicycles and scooters, notably rental models whose mechanical soundness is under increasing question.

It is difficult to predict precisely how a new normal will settle over what had become for many a difficult and sometimes distressing trip to and from the office, or for throngs of tourists, visits to sites scattered across the metropolitan area.

But transportation experts know that health precautions may force a lightening of the load on public transit, whether trains, buses, or the subway. More people may crush into the District of Columbia in cars, worsening the commuting nightmares. That also may push workers and travelers into heavier reliance on bikes and scooters — a practice that District officials had sought to foster before the coronavirus struck. They had started to thin the number of startups renting e-scooters with apps and credit cards, promising to supervise the enterprises’ activities more closely and to crackdown on the businesses’ related hazards.

herbicide-185x300Although Covid-19 is disastrous for people around the globe, Big Pharma is finding advantage in the infection: Bayer, a pharmaceutical and agricultural products’ giant, is on the brink of what would be an $8 billion-plus settlement of an estimated 85,000 lawsuits involving the familiar weed killer Roundup.

Bayer has taken a $39 billion hit to its market value due to the Roundup suits, which the German-headquartered conglomerate took on when it acquired St. Louis, Mo.-based Monsanto for $63 billion.

Bayer executives, analysts say, have wanted to resolve the big numbers of current suits while courts across the country have closed due to the pandemic, preventing not only more cases from being filed but also others from resolution. The company has lost a handful of suits, but they carried a big, collective, initial price tag — $2.4 billion. That sum has been slashed on appeal to $191 million and the company says, no matter if it settles thousands of other cases, it will continue litigating the adverse decisions.

blaze2vape-300x169Consumers have gotten stark reminders of the safety risks of two different kinds of products, one a household classic and the other a bootlegger’s nightmare. Caveat emptor about baby powder and street-purchased vaping devices.

As for Johnson and Johnson’s family familiar talc, the company may have timed well its decision to yank it from shelves in North America as the public focuses its attention on other and major health concerns, experts said. As Reuters reported:

“Christie Nordhielm, a professor of marketing at Georgetown, said it appears J&J made its decision to withdraw from the market while consumers were preoccupied with the pandemic. ‘It’s a nice time to quietly do it,’ she said, adding ‘it will minimize the reputational hit.’”

Patrick Malone & Associates, P.C. listed in Best Lawyers Rated by Super Lawyers Patrick A. Malone
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