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Weakened by Mobile, Desktop Search Advertising Is Declining

admin » 25 March 2014 » In Internet, Tech News » No Comments

In the latest example of mobile phones’ upending of the tech industry, desktop search advertising, perhaps the most lucrative online business, is shrinking.

Advertisers are following consumers to mobile phones, so mobile search advertising is climbing as desktop search advertising shrinks. Yet advertisers are still paying about a third of the price for mobile ads that they do for desktop ads, so the decline in desktop ad spending is a financial risk for search companies including Google, far and away the leader in search.

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Over all, desktop search ad spending will drop $1.4 billion this year, a decrease of 9.4 percent from last year, according to estimates from eMarketer. (It fell last year for the first time, but only 0.8 percent.) Mobile search ad spending, meanwhile, will more than make up the difference, increasing $4.07 billion, or 82.3 percent.

Google has taken pains to describe mobile search as additional search activity that is not poaching time from desktop search. Mobile searches spike, it says, during the lunch hour and evenings, when people are likely to be away from their desks.

Yet the numbers tell a different story — as anyone who has searched on a phone while a laptop sits inches away can attest. Either desktop search is losing popularity to mobile search, or advertisers believe it is.

At Google, desktop search ad revenue will decrease $770 million this year, while mobile search ad revenue will increase $1.76 billion, eMarketer said.

The gap has closed in an astonishingly short time, even for the fast-moving technology industry. This year, mobile search revenue at Google — which has 95 percent market share in mobile search, according to StatCounter — is on track to account for about one-third of Google’s total search revenue. That would have been unthinkable only a couple of years ago, when Google’s business was under threat from mobile.

Since then, the company has tried to rethink mobile advertising. For instance, Google combined its desktop and mobile ad departments into one and now sells the two types of ads as a single package to advertisers. It also introduced new tools for advertisers to begin to solve the problem of tracking the effectiveness of mobile advertising. One tracks consumers across devices and tells marketers whether a consumer makes a purchase on a computer after researching an item on a phone.

“The fundamental tenet is not to speak about mobile, mobile, mobile,” Nikesh Arora, Google’s chief business officer, said on a conference call with analysts in January.

“People aren’t distinguishing what they’re doing on different screens, so advertisers should be more agnostic about where they reach the user,” he said.

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Montana reaches $5.9M settlement in pharmaceutical case

admin » 12 March 2014 » In Legal News, Mass Tort » No Comments

HELENA – Montana Attorney General Tim Fox announced Thursday that a $5.9 settlement has been reached in a lawsuit filed against a large pharmaceutical company, and money will be used to pay for a new prescription drug abuse prevention program, mental health services and ongoing consumer protection services.

The Attorney General’s Office filed a lawsuit in 2008 against Janssen Ortho LLC and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. The lawsuit alleged the company employed illegal, unfair and deceptive practices in the marketing of Risperdal, an antipsychotic drug used to treat certain psychological disorders in adults.

The lawsuit alleged Janssen deceived Montana physicians and consumers when it promoted Risperdal as safe and effective for a variety of conditions, but was aware that research showed dangers associated with its use and hid that research from the public.

Janssen’s own studies of Risperdal demonstrated it had the potential to cause weight gain and diabetes, cerebrovascular complications in the elderly, as well as other severe adverse side effects.

Janssen agreed to settle the lawsuit for $5.9 million last month. The settlement also restricts Janssen from making misleading claims in the promotion of its drugs, and present information about the benefits and risks of its product in promotional materials.

Janssen did not admit wrongdoing through the settlement.

Fox said about $1.5 million of the settlement will be used to bolster the state’s Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Program. A public education specialist will be hired to create a student education program, look for ways to expand prescription drug drop box locations across the state, and create a public awareness campaign about the dangers of prescription drug addiction.

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Judge denies settlement motion in NFL concussion lawsuit

admin » 14 January 2014 » In Legal News, Verdicts » No Comments

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A federal judge denied preliminary approval of a $765 million settlement of NFL concussion claims, fearing it may not be enough to cover 20,000 retired players.

U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody asked for more financial information from the parties, a week after players’ lawyers filed a detailed payout plan for her review.

‘‘I am primarily concerned that not all retired NFL football players who ultimately receive a qualifying diagnosis or their (families) … will be paid,’’ Brody wrote in a 12-page opinion filed Tuesday morning.

The proposed settlement, negotiated over several months, is designed to last at least 65 years.

The awards would vary based on an ex-player’s age and diagnosis. A younger retiree with Lou Gehrig’s disease would get $5 million, those with serious dementia cases would get $3 million and an 80-year-old with early dementia would get $25,000.

Some critics have argued that the NFL, with more than $9 billion in annual revenues, was getting away lightly. But the players’ lawyers said they will face huge challenges just to get the case to trial. They would have to prove the injuries were linked to the players’ NFL service and should not be handled through league arbitration.

Layn R. Phillips, a former federal judge from California hired by Brody to lead settlement negotiations, had called the deal fair.

The NFL would also pay an additional $112 million to the players’ lawyers for their fees and expenses, for a total payout of nearly $900 million.

More than 4,500 former players have filed suit, some accusing the league of fraud for its handling of concussions. They include former Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett and Super Bowl-winning quarterback Jim McMahon, who suffers from dementia.

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Johnson & Johnson in Deal to Settle Hip Implant Lawsuits

admin » 20 November 2013 » In FDA, Legal News, Mass Tort, Verdicts » 2 Comments

Johnson & Johnson and lawyers for patients injured by a flawed hip implant announced a multibillion-dollar deal on Tuesday to settle thousands of lawsuits, but it was not clear whether the deal would satisfy enough claimants.

Under the agreement, the medical products giant would pay nearly $2.5 billion in compensation to an estimated 8,000 patients who have been forced to have the all-metal artificial hip removed and replaced with another device.

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Separately, the company has agreed to pay all medical costs related to such procedures, expenses that could raise the deal’s cost to Johnson & Johnson to $3 billion, people familiar with the proposal said.

Under the plan, the typical patient payment for pain and suffering caused by the device would be about $250,000 before legal fees. Based on standard agreements, plaintiffs’ lawyers would receive about one-third of the overall payout, or more than $800 million, with those who negotiated the plan emerging as big winners.

The proposed settlement, which was submitted on Tuesday to a federal judge in Toledo, Ohio, must receive the support of 94 percent of eligible claimants to go forward. Whether it will reach that goal is unclear. Some patients might decide to seek more through individual lawsuits. Some patients would receive relatively small payouts and others would see payments reduced because the plan imposes a user’s fee on awards based on how long a patient had the implant.

Some patients, many of whom suffered severe pain and injury from metallic debris generated by the device, spent years trying to convince doctors that there was a problem while Johnson & Johnson was denying one.

The now-recalled device, known as the Articular Surface Replacement, or A.S.R., ranks as one of the most-flawed medical implants sold in recent decades. The DePuy Orthopaedics division of Johnson & Johnson estimated in an internal document in 2011 that the device would fail within five years in 40 percent of the patients who received it.

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J&J to pay $2.5B to settle hip replacement suits

admin » 19 November 2013 » In Defective Products, FDA, Mass Tort, Recall » No Comments

Johnson & Johnson says it will pay $2.5 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits brought by hip replacement patients who accuse the company of selling faulty implants that led to injuries and additional surgeries.

The agreement presented in U.S. District Court in Ohio is one of the largest ever for the medical device industry. It resolves some 8,000 cases of patients who had to have the company’s metal ball-and-socket hip implant removed or replaced. J&J pulled the implant from the market in 2010.

J&J’s DePuy unit said in a statement it expects to make most of the payments to patients in 2014.

The artificial hip, known as the Articular Surface Replacement, was sold for eight years to some 35,000 people in the U.S.

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J&J agrees to pay more than $2.2 billion in Risperdal accord

admin » 04 November 2013 » In Defective Products, FDA, Legal News, Mass Tort » 2 Comments

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Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay more than $2.2 billion to resolve criminal and civil probes into the marketing of the antipsychotic drug Risperdal and other medicines in one of the largest U.S. health-care fraud cases.

J&J’s Janssen unit will plead guilty to a misdemeanor criminal charge over misbranding Risperdal for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, including for elderly patients with dementia. Under the plea deal announced Monday, Janssen will pay a $334 million fine and forfeit $66 million.

Janssen also settled civil claims that it marketed Risperdal without approval for the elderly, children and mentally disabled, and that it paid kickbacks to physicians and to Omnicare Inc., the largest pharmacy for nursing homes. The civil accord covered off-label marketing of Risperdal, another antipsychotic, and Natrecor, a heart failure drug.

“These companies lined their pockets at the expense of the American taxpayers, patients and the private insurance industry,” Att. Gen.l Eric Holder said. J&J “recklessly put at risk the health of some of the most vulnerable members of our society — including young children, the elderly, and the disabled.”

“Today we reached closure on complex legal matters spanning almost a decade,” Michael Ullmann, J&J’s general counsel, said in a statement. “This resolution allows us to move forward and continue to focus on delivering innovative solutions that improve and enhance the health and well-being of patients around the world.”

J&J said the company had previously accrued the settlement amounts, and no other charge to earnings will be recorded.

The agreement is the government’s third-biggest with a pharmaceutical company, behind a $3 billion settlement that GlaxoSmithKline Plc reached last year over marketing of medicines, including Paxil, Avandia and Wellbutrin, and the $2.3 billion accord that Pfizer Inc. entered in 2009 over marketing of the painkiller Bextra and other drugs.

J&J’s settlement doesn’t end Risperdal claims brought by several U.S. states, including Louisiana and South Carolina.

The civil settlement, which involves the Justice Department and 45 states, resolves several lawsuits filed by whistleblowers under the False Claims, which lets citizens sue on behalf of the government and join in any settlement. The Justice Department joined those cases.

The U.S. government has been probing Risperdal sales practices since 2004, including allegations the company marketed the drug for unapproved uses.

U.S. and state investigators examined whether J&J improperly promoted the drug for treating elderly patients with dementia, a use never approved by regulators, and for children before the Food and Drug Administration first approved pediatric uses in 2006.

While doctors may prescribe an approved drug for any reason, companies can market them only for purposes authorized by the FDA.

Risperdal has been linked to excessive weight gain and diabetes. The drug, once J&J’s biggest seller, generated worldwide sales of $24.2 billion from 2003 to 2010, reaching $4.5 billion in 2007. After that, J&J lost patent protection and sales declined.

The FDA approved Risperdal in 1993 for psychotic disorders including schizophrenia. That market is limited, and J&J’s Janssen unit sought to sell Risperdal for bipolar disorder, dementia, mood and anxiety disorders and other unapproved uses, according to court filings. The drug was later approved for other uses.

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Google Starts Supporting Google+ Hashtags In Search Queries

admin » 25 September 2013 » In Google, Search Engines » 1 Comment

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Google+ started supporting hashtags in May, and today the company announced that Google Search will now allow you to search for Google+ posts by using these hashtags. Given that there’s a little bit of Google+ in every Google product now, it’s no surprise that these Google+ hashtags are now finding their way into other Google products.

This new search feature is now live for English language users in the U.S. and Canada on google.com and google.ca.

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In Google Search, users will now be able to search for hashtags like #AmericasCup and get a list of relevant Google+ posts in the right sidebar. Google won’t highlight posts from Twitter or Facebook in the sidebar, but it has put links to Twitter and Facebook right underneath the Google+ posts so users can search for these terms on those social networks, as well.

The links in these Google+ posts are all active and you can see how many +1s and comments a given post received. You can’t, however, interact with the post right on the search results page as there is no way to follow, +1 or comment on these search results without going to Google+ first.

It remains to be seen how popular this feature will be. Most users, I think, would probably prefer to see this feature work for Twitter hashtags. It’s doubtful that all that many Google users were clamoring for a better way to search for Google+ hashtags on Google Search, but maybe this will give this feature a bit more visibility.

For content owners, however, this feature definitely gives them an incentive to use hashtags in their Google+ posts (and to use Google+ in the first place). The top-right corner of the search results page, after all, is prime real estate, and getting your link to show up there could drive significant traffic for popular hashtags.

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Bard Loses $2 Million Verdict in Vaginal-Mesh Trial

admin » 19 August 2013 » In Defective Products, FDA, Legal News, Verdicts » No Comments

C.R. Bard Inc. was told by a jury to pay $2 million to a woman who alleged the company hid flaws within some of its vaginal-mesh implants in the first federal trial of claims over the devices.

Jurors in Charleston, West Virginia, deliberated about 12 hours over two days before finding Murray Hill, New Jersey-based Bard liable for injuries Donna Cisson blamed on its Avaulta line of devices. The jury awarded $250,000 in compensatory damages for Cisson’s injuries plus $1.75 million in punitive damages.

Bard, based in Murray Hill, New Jersey, still faces more than 8,000 other claims over its Avaulta devices, which Cisson and other women allege can cause organ damage and make sexual intercourse painful when the devices erode. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Endo Health Solutions Inc. (ENDP) and Boston Scientific Corp. (BSX) face similar claims that their implants, threaded in place through vaginal incisions, shrink over time.

“This jury sent a message that Bard needs to change its ways,” Henry Garrard, one of Cisson’s lawyers, said after the punitive-damages verdict was announced. “The jury is telling them this kind of conduct won’t be tolerated.”

Bard officials said they dispute the jury’s finding that Cisson’s injuries were caused by the vaginal implant and will appeal.

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Lipitor and Type 2 Diabetes in Women

admin » 25 July 2013 » In FDA, Mass Tort » No Comments

Women taking Lipitor have an increased risk of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Lipitor (atorvastatin calcium) has been widely prescribed to regulate cholesterol and blood pressure since 1996. More than 29 million people in the United States have been prescribed the drug, according to Pfizer’s website.

In February 2012, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a warning label change for the drug, to include an increased risk for type 2 diabetes. Their decision was prompted by a clinical trial conducted in 2011, which found that people taking Lipitor had an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

That study suggested that the increased risk was largely attributable to the fact that women with high blood sugar, high blood pressure and other known risk factors for type 2 diabetes were already predisposed to developing the disease. However, another study published in May 2013 in the British Medical Journal more clearly established a link between Lipitor and diabetes.

The study found that people treated with Lipitor, in comparison to other statins, including Zocor and Crestor, were 22 percent more likely to develop new onset diabetes. Of all the statins tested in the study, Lipitor had the highest incidence of diabetes.

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Avaulta Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuit Trial Begins Today

admin » 09 July 2013 » In Legal News, Mass Tort » No Comments

The first of four bellwether trials regarding C.R. Bard transvaginal mesh lawsuits began today in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of West Virginia, with the plaintiff of the first transvaginal mesh multi-district litigation trial alleging to have suffered injuries from C.R. Bard’s Avaulta transvaginal mesh device. The woman claims that the transvaginal mesh device was made from a resin-based plastic not suitable to be implanted in the human body.

Transvaginal mesh has been commonly used to treat urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse in women. However, transvaginal mesh devices are currently facing scrutiny for the numerous health problems associated with the implantation of the transvaginal mesh device in the body. Shrinkage of the transvaginal mesh device due to the body’s natural foreign body response after implantation can ultimately lead to the destruction of nerves, tissue, and organs surrounding the transvaginal mesh device.

“Multi-district litigation trials are important in encouraging defendants to recognize the damage and harm that their products have caused and compensate all victims of their defective devices accordingly. If C.R. Bard should learn anything from the past, it would be the need for their company to have performed adequate testing and to convey proper warnings. In the absence of an effort to protect public safety, they should be found liable for the harm that they produce” said Robert Price, a transvaginal mesh attorney with the law firm of Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor, P.A.

Thousands of women implanted with faulty transvaginal mesh devices have filed lawsuits against C.R. Bard and other manufacturers of defective transvaginal mesh products. In June 2012, a woman was awarded a $5.5 million verdict by a California jury for injuries she suffered from an Avaulta transvaginal mesh device.

An Atlantic County, New Jersey jury ruled against Johnson & Johnson with an $11.11 million verdict, in which the plaintiff was awarded $3.35 million in compensatory and $7.76 million in punitive damages from injuries she suffered from ProLift, a recalled transvaginal mesh device manufactured by Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.

“Often times, the manufacturers of these faulty transvaginal mesh devices are aware of the serious health risks associated with their products,” commented Daniel Nigh, a transvaginal mesh attorney also with the law firm of Levin, Papantonio. “However, companies such as C.R. Bard and Johnson and Johnson failed to warn consumers of the risks and continued to market their products as safe and effective. Now, they are being held accountable for their negligence.”

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