Thursday, August 31, 2006
Article today on law.com -- Texas Juror Took Loans From Plaintiff in Vioxx Case, by Lynn Brezosky:
Attorneys for Merck & Co. want to see bank and cell phone
records that could
show the extent of a juror's financial relationship with a plaintiff who won a
$32 million verdict against the drug company in the death of a 71-year-old man
who took Vioxx.
Jose Manuel Rios, a $22,000-a-year school janitor who served
on the panel that
found Merck liable for Leonel Garza's fatal heart attack after taking the painkiller
Vioxx, testified in a post-trial deposition to borrowing up to $10,000 interest free
from Garza's widow, Felicia, the plaintiff in the lawsuit against Merck. He said the
loans included $2,500 that was paid off just weeks before he was selected as a juror
in the case.
Article in today's Chicago Tribune -- 3 towns prodded to bar smoking: Lake County hosts forum to push ban, by Dave Wischnowsky:
With eight Lake County communities
already banning smoking in public places,
health officials worked Tuesday to persuade North Chicago, Highwood and Green
Oaks to consider similar ordinances over bacon and eggs in Vernon Hills.
The event, co-hosted by the Lake County Health Department and the American
Heart Association, was the first of three breakfast forums scheduled as part of a
goal to make Lake County smoke-free by the end of 2007.
Article in today's Washington Post -- NYC Issues 9/11 Medical Guidelines, by Devlin Barrett:
New York City health officials issued long-awaited guidelines Thursday to help
doctors detect and treat 9/11-related illnesses _ medical advice considered crucial
for hundreds of ground zero workers now scattered across the United States.
The New York City Health Department had previously offered instructions for treating
post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse and mental illness resulting from Sept. 11
experiences. But health experts, advocates and politicians complained the city had shelved
instructions on how to treat the physical ailments of Sept. 11.
Article in today's Washington Post -- Look Who's Left Standing: Legal Penalties in Frauds Are Seldom Paid by Legal Advisers, by Carrie Johnson:
Four years after regulators launched a task force to stamp out business corruption,
numerous chief executives are on their way to prison, two of the nation's biggest
accounting firms are defunct or on probation, and investment banks have shelled
out billions of dollars in settlements.
But lawyers serving fraud-ridden companies have emerged relatively unscathed.
Article in today's New York Times -- Ban on Sale of Skin Lighteners Proposed, by the Associated Press: "The Food and Drug Administration proposed a ban on over-the-counter sales of skin-lightening products, saying possible health risks cannot justify their being sold without a prescription."
Article in today's Los Angeles Times -- Tests Reveal Fake Drugs from Canada, from the Associated Press:
Testing revealed fake versions of Lipitor and other widely used
ordered through websites linked to a Canadian pharmacy, the Food and Drug Administration
who bought drugs through the 10 websites should not use the medications
because they may not be safe, the FDA said. The sites include RxNorth.com,
Canadiandrugstore.com and Rxbyfax.com.
Article in today's Los Angeles Times -- Merck Wins New Trial on Vioxx Award, from Reuters:
A judge Wednesday threw out a $50-million jury award against Merck & Co.,
calling it excessive for a former FBI agent who had suffered a heart attack while
using the drug maker's Vioxx painkiller, and ordered a new trial on damages.
In a written ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Eldon Fallon found that the jury's
findings on Merck's liability were reasonable, but that the $50-million compensatory
damage assessment was not.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Article in today's Washington Post -- U.S. Report: More Nicotine in Cigarettes, by Steve LeBlanc:
The level of nicotine that smokers typically consume per cigarette has risen
about 10 percent in the past six years, making it harder to quit and easier to get
hooked, according to a new report released Tuesday by the Massachusetts Department
The study shows a steady climb in the amount of nicotine delivered to the lungs of
smokers regardless of brand, with overall nicotine yields increasing by about 10 percent.
Article in today's New York Times -- Judge Calls for New Trial in Vioxx Case, by the Associated Press:
The $50 million compensatory damage award in a federal Vioxx case this month was ''grossly
excessive,'' and a new trial must be held to decide damages for a retired FBI agent who suffered a
heart attack after taking the painkiller, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
''No reasonable jury could have found'' that Gerald Barnett was entitled to $50 million in
compensatory damages from Vioxx maker Merck & Co. because of the heart attack he suffered in
2002, U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon ruled.
The new trial is limited to the question of damages.
Schering-Plough Corp. agreed to pay $435 million in connection with a federal investigation into Schering's marketing of drugs for unapproved uses and overcharging Medicaid for various drugs, according to an article in today's L.A. Times. Federal investigators found evidence Schering marketed drugs for off-label uses not approved by the FDA. For example, Schering pleaded guilty to making false statements in connection with Temodar, which generated $588 million in sales last year. According to U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan, Temodar had been FDA-approved only for treatment of anaplastic astrocytoma, a brain tumor, in patients who had not responded well to other treatments, but Schering marketed the drug for other brain cancers, even though such treatments were not FDA-approved. Based on their own expertise, doctors may independently prescribe medications for off-label purposes.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
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