July 6, 2007
Vioxx MDL Judge Rejects FDA Preemption of Warnings-Based Claims
Article in the New York Times -- Judge Rejects Merck’s View on F.D.A. Issue, by the Associated Press. Here's an excerpt:
Food and Drug Administration approval of a drug label does not clear the manufacturer of claims that its warnings were inadequate, a judge ruled in a decision that could potentially affect thousands of federal suits against Merck over the painkiller Vioxx.
“The F.D.A.’s current view on the question of immunity for prescription drug manufacturers is entirely unpersuasive,” Judge Eldon E. Fallon of Federal District Court wrote in the opinion, handed down Tuesday.
Had Judge Fallon sided with Merck, the drug company could have challenged claims brought by thousands of other plaintiffs who say it is to blame for heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems.
July 5, 2007
Feinberg to Dispense Virginia Tech Shooting Fund
Article in the New York Times -- Lawyer Who Directed Sept. 11 Compensation to Oversee Virginia Tech Program, by Ian Urbina. Here's an excerpt:
Kenneth R. Feinberg, the Washington lawyer who directed the federal program to compensate relatives of victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, will oversee the distribution of the $7 million that has been donated to Virginia Tech after the April campus massacre, university officials said Thursday.
“There is no script for a tragedy of this magnitude and depth of pain,” the university’s president, Charles Steger, said. “I am very pleased to have someone of Ken Feinberg’s caliber, experience and long career to help guide us.”
In November 2001, Mr. Feinberg was appointed special master of the Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund by then-Attorney General John Ashcroft. A former chief of staff for Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Mr. Feinberg has extensive experience in mediating complicated compensation disputes, including those that arose over the Agent Orange defoliant used in the Vietnam War and the Dalkon Shield birth control device.
While Mr. Feinberg’s job will involve the difficult responsibility of assigning monetary values to human lives, he said his current task would be much smaller and less complicated than his work on the Sept. 11 case.