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Boehringer Ingelheim Settles Pradaxa Lawsuits for $650 Million

Pharmaceutical maker Boehringer Ingelheim agreed to settle lawsuits over the blood thinner drug dabigatran (Pradaxa). Under the terms of the settlement, the German company will pay $650 million to settle 4,000 suits brought by patients and survivors who claim "Boehringer failed to properly warn them that the drug, which is used to prevent blood clots, caused serious and sometimes fatal bleeding that could not easily be reversed." The Institute for Safe Medication Practices implicates the drug in "more than 1,000 deaths." The company stands by its medication, saying in a statement "Time and again, the benefits and safety of Pradaxa have been confirmed." 

The FDA approved Pradaxa in 2010 for use in patients at risk of stroke due to atrial fibrillation or other irregular rhythms. FDA officials said they received reports of 542 deaths and 3,781 side-effect incidents tied to the drug in 2011. The settlement follows a $931,000 fine assessed against the company in December for failing to preserve documents related to the drug's development. Pradaxa generated revenue of $1.63 billion last year.

Settlement in Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuits Announced While FDA Looks at Stricter Classifications

A proposed settlement has reportedly been reached in Endo International Plc’s transvaginal mesh lawsuits. The settlement will resolve around 20,000 claims against the company, alleging women suffered serious side effects from the use of transvaginal mesh. 

Endo has agreed to pay around $830 million to resolve approximately 20,000 claims linked to transvaginal mesh products made by American Medical Systems Inc., a unit of Endo. The lawsuits alleged that some of the transvaginal meshes eroded, causing incontinence and pain. Endo still faces around 23,000 claims linked to transvaginal meshes, while other companies also face lawsuits.

News of the settlement came one day after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced possible changes to how transvaginal mesh products used to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP) are classified. The FDA’s proposal recommends reclassifying the mesh from a class II (moderate risk) to a class III (high risk) and would require  companies to submit an application for premarket approval so the FDA could evaluate the device’s safety and effectiveness.

Settlement Reached Over Bridgeton Landfill

The operator of the Bridgeton Landfill in St. Louis will pay nearly $7 million to settle a class action lawsuit. The class action lawsuit was filed on “behalf of hundreds of homeowners living nearby who claimed that noxious odors and an underground fire lowered property values and harmed their quality of life.”

The damages “are based on property values and proximity to the landfill.” According to the deal residents of more than 400 homes are entitled to “$26,250 for single family homes in the Spanish Village subdivision, $15, 375 in the Terrisan Reste mobile home community and about $3,900 in the Carrollton Village condominiums.” 

The settlement is separate from another class action lawsuit pending alleging that “radioactive contamination from the landfill has been detected off site.” 

$85 Million Lawsuit Against Red Bull for Allegedly Causing a Man’s Death

An $85 million lawsuit was filed on Monday against Red Bull alleging their drink caused the heart failure of Cory Terry, a young 33 year old Brooklyn man.  

Cory Terry was described by his family as a healthy, active, nonsmoker who regularly drank Red Bull energy drinks. Nearly two years ago in a New York City middle school gym, Cory collapsed during a basketball game shortly after drinking a can of the popular energy drink.  The collapse was said to be caused by a type of heart failure known as idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a condition in which the heart becomes enlarged and weakened, unable to pump blood efficiently. 

Analysts say the lawsuit may be the first of its kind against the energy drink manufacturer, which maintains the safety and efficacy of its product. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it will continue to research the health effects of energy drinks, even though investigators have found no evidence Red Bull Energy Drink and competitors pose a safety threat.

CPSC Reports Drop in ATV -Related Deaths

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is reporting a drop in the number of fatalities related to accidents involving all-terrain vehicles in 2011. However, although there has been a drop in fatalities, the number of people dying from using ATVs on roads has actually increased dramatically since 1982.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 327 people died in ATV-related accidents in 2011. However, that number could only present part of the picture. The toll is likely to increase by several hundreds more, when the Consumer Product Safety Commission receives more information about other fatalities from coroners as well as medical examiner records.

However, as far as recorded figures are concerned, those are the lowest fatality numbers on record since the past several years.

There are other reasons for California personal injury lawyers to be cynical about the statistics. Other data shows that the deaths of people who are using all-terrain vehicles on public roads actually increased by as much as nine fold since 1982. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 305 people died in ATV-related accidents while they were riding these vehicles on the road in 2011. The fatalities included 10 children who were below 13 years of age.

Another major concern to California personal injury lawyers is that close to 50% of the children below the age of 16 who died in ATV-related accidents were below the age of 12. This shows that the vast majority of fatalities involving ATV-related accidents continue to remain young children, who are riding adult ATVs.

Under the law, ATV dealers are not allowed to sell adult-sized ATVs to families that are buying them for their children. The Consumer Product Safety Commission does monitor these dealerships to see where they're following the law, and reports that the rate of violations was down in 2011.

Product Warning Labels Are Losing Effectiveness

Over the past decade, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has required an increasing number of manufacturers to affix warning labels to their products to warn consumers about the dangers of the product. That has resulted in a vast number of products on our shelves coming with warning labels. The result has been a widespread sense of “label fatigue” and many consumers now choose to ignore those warning labels altogether.

California product liability attorneys believe that this is dangerous, because consumers may be at risk of injury when they ignore warning labels. In response to such “label fatigue,” the Consumer Product Safety Commission has begun proposing outright bans on dangerous products.

A case in point is the recent proposal by the Consumer Product Safety Commission to ban tiny magnets which are posing a serious ingestion hazard for children. Last month, the federal agency proposed that these magnets be taken off the market altogether, because of the serious risk that they pose to children. At least 11 companies that manufacture such magnets have agreed to a ban.

The agency initially issued a number of warning alerts about these products, after coming across a number of reports of children being injured by the ingestion of these magnets. However, the agency quickly found that the warnings seemed to have limited effectiveness. Consumers who are constantly bombarded by warnings about all kinds of consumer products get used to these warnings, and stop paying attention to these.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission now believes it is much more effective to remove dangerous products from the market altogether and eliminate the risk. The Consumer Product Safety Commission admits that warnings are losing their effectiveness, and people who exposed to warnings again and again are less likely to pay attention.

Camp Lejeune Families May Be Eligible for Toxic Exposure Compensation

Veterans who were stationed at Camp Lejeune and their families may soon be eligible for compensation for the injuries that they suffered as a result of exposure to contaminated well water. Congress is finally moving forward on a proposal that would include veterans as well as their families in Department of Veterans Affairs treatment plans.

Camp Lejeune is located in North Carolina, and is currently home to hundreds of thousands of veterans, mostly Marines, and their families. However, over the past 3 decades, the camp has become synonymous with toxic well water that exposed thousands of Marines to health risks. The water was contaminated with known carcinogen chemicals, and veterans as well as their families were exposed to these chemicals over a period of 30 years. Many of them developed illnesses like cancer, and died as a result of these. California employment lawyers frequently come across new cases involving illnesses from the toxic exposure every day.

The camp also recorded very high rates of stillbirths. Other veterans at the camp and their family members developed leukemia and other childhood cancers, and suffered birth defects.

However, even as veterans and their families struggled with the effects of the toxic exposure, legislators continued to battle over who was responsible for covering the cost of medical expenses of these illnesses. The Camp Lejeune base is owned by the Department of Defense, while the Department Of Veterans Affairs covers all illnesses, injuries and disabilities that servicemen and women suffer. However, Congress is now close to finalizing a deal under which the Department Of Veterans Affairs will cover the costs of medical expenses for these personnel.

Lawsuit filed against health-staffing agency over Hepatitis C outbreak

lawsuit was filed on Sunday against Nebraska-based Triage Staffing Inc., a health-staffing company, over a Hepatitis C outbreak.  One of the thirty people who are believed to have contracted the disease from one of the company’s traveling employees is alleging that the company was negligent in the hiring, employing, and supervising of the medical technician.

On June 14th, one month after the hire of the technician by Exeter hospital in New Hampshire, a patient who received a cardiac catheterization contracted hepatitis C.  The technician was charged last week with stealing anesthetic drugs, injecting himself, and thereby contaminating the syringes to be used on patients.  He was fired by Exeter Hospital after the outbreak.

The Triage employee was sent to hospitals across the country for temporary jobs and prosecutors say that the man has worked in at least six states since 2007.  Michigan, Maryland, Kansas, and New York are the four states who have confirmed the man’s employment.  

Johnson & Johnson Sold Transvaginal Mesh Implant after FDA Ordered Company to Stop Sales

Johnson and Johnson (J&J) continued the sale of its Gynecare Prolift transvaginal mesh implant despite a 2007 letter from the Food and Drug Administration directing them to halt sales until the FDA further reviewed the product.  J&J determined that their product was “substantially equivalent” enough to another product it already had on the market, so it simply continued to sell the device despite the FDA’s warning. 

The FDA eventually cleared the device about a year later; however, this does not bode well for J&J who already faces lawsuits regarding their transvaginal mesh implants.  The FDA did not sanction J&J because they later complied with the FDA’s instructions to complete a new application for the device, but many believe this kind of brazen disregard for the FDA’s direct orders indicates the challenge the FDA faces when it comes to enforcing its regulations on major pharmaceutical companies. 

Thousands of women have experienced severe complications from the transvaginal mesh implants including recurrence of prolapse or incontinence, severe pain, erosion of the mesh, and infection. Oftentimes, these complications require women to undergo additional painful and costly surgeries.  California defective device attorneys currently represent women across the United States facing such complications from these transvaginal mesh devices.

Former NFL Players Seek Justice In Brain Injury Suit

Around 2,000 former NFL players sued the league on Thursday, alleging it deliberately and fraudulently concealed the risk of brain injury from players while marketing the ferocity and brutality of the game.

The main complaint joined more than 80 cases already filed by former players on a topic that has generated increasing concern following the suicides of former players such Junior Seau in May, Ray Easterling in April and Dave Duerson last year.

The suit seeks unspecified financial compensation for fraud, misrepresentation and negligence against the NFL, a $9 billion annual industry.

"The NFL and its agents continued to market, as it had in the past, the ferocity and brutality of the sport that, in part, gives rise to the latent and debilitating neurocognitive conditions and injuries from which plaintiffs suffer," said the 86-page lawsuit filed at U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

The NFL has stressed its “numerous extensive benefits programs” for former players which includes $17.5 million that has been disbursed to over 200 players and their families.

Former players complain precautions against brain injury have only been implemented in recent years and that players from decades past were exposed to long-term neurological injuries as a result of repeated impacts, sometimes returning to play in the same game after suffering concussions.

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