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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

NFL_concussion

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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Fatty Foods Addictive as Cocaine in Growing Body of Science

admin » 06 November 2011 » In Legal News, Mass Tort » No Comments

Fatty Foods Addictive as Cocaine in Growing Body of Science

Cupcakes may be addictive, just like cocaine.

A growing body of medical research at leading universities and government laboratories suggests that processed foods and sugary drinks made by the likes of PepsiCo Inc. and Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT) aren’t simply unhealthy. They can hijack the brain in ways that resemble addictions to cocaine, nicotine and other drugs.

“The data is so overwhelming the field has to accept it,” said Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “We are finding tremendous overlap between drugs in the brain and food in the brain.”

The idea that food may be addictive was barely on scientists’ radar a decade ago. Now the field is heating up. Lab studies have found sugary drinks and fatty foods can produce addictive behavior in animals. Brain scans of obese people and compulsive eaters, meanwhile, reveal disturbances in brain reward circuits similar to those experienced by drug abusers.

Twenty-eight scientific studies and papers on food addiction have been published this year, according to a National Library of Medicine database. As the evidence expands, the science of addiction could become a game changer for the $1 trillion food and beverage industries.

If fatty foods and snacks and drinks sweetened with sugar and high fructose corn syrup are proven to be addictive, food companies may face the most drawn-out consumer safety battle since the anti-smoking movement took on the tobacco industry a generation ago.
‘Fun-for-You’

“This could change the legal landscape,” said Kelly Brownell, director of Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity and a proponent of anti-obesity regulation. “People knew for a long time cigarettes were killing people, but it was only later they learned about nicotine and the intentional manipulation of it.”

Food company executives and lobbyists are quick to counter

that nothing has been proven, that nothing is wrong with what PepsiCo Chief Executive Officer Indra Nooyi calls “fun-for- you” foods, if eaten in moderation. In fact, the companies say they’re making big strides toward offering consumers a wide range of healthier snacking options. Nooyi, for one, is as well known for calling attention to PepsiCo’s progress offering healthier fare as she is for driving sales.
Coca-Cola Co. (KO), PepsiCo, Northfield, Illinois-based Kraft and Kellogg Co. of Battle Creek, Michigan, declined to grant interviews with their scientists.

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Mike Papantonio: Actos Linked to Bladder Cancer

admin » 12 October 2011 » In FDA, Legal News, Mass Tort » No Comments

Mike Papantonio: Actos Linked to Bladder Cancer

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GlaxoSmithKline settles bad drug case for $750M

admin » 26 October 2010 » In Defective Products, Legal News » No Comments

GlaxoSmithKline settles bad drug case for $750M

British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline PLC will pay $750 million to settle allegations that it knowingly manufactured and sold adulterated drugs, including the popular antidepressant Paxil, federal prosecutors in Massachusetts said Tuesday.

U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz announced that the London-based company will pay $150 million in criminal fines and $600 million in civil penalties related to faulty manufacturing processes at its plant in Cidra, Puerto Rico. The company allowed several drugs to be adulterated between 2001 and 2005, including Paxil CR, a skin-infection ointment called Bactroban, and an anti-nausea drug called Kytril.

GlaxoSmithKline said in a statement that it regrets operating the plant in a manner that violated good manufacturing practices. The company said the plant closed in 2009 due to declining demand for the medicines made there.

Ortiz said that no patients appeared to have been harmed by the quality problems at the plant, which included failing to ensure that Bactroban and Kytril were free of contamination from microorganisms and causing Paxil controlled release tablets to split, causing the potential distribution of tablets that did not have any therapeutic effect.

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