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Judge orders USPS to compensate, promote whistleblower

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A federal judge in Washington ordered the U.S. Postal Service to pay an employee nearly $230,000 in damages and raise his pay for retaliating against him after he encouraged a co-worker to report job-related health concerns to federal safety authorities. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the employee started working with the Postal Service as a mail carrier in 1995. After delivering mail for a number of years, the employee was promoted to the position of safety specialist, which required him to provide safety advice to more than 300 small postal facilities and area offices throughout Washington ... Read More

Janssen ordered to pay $136 million for Risperdal illegal marketing

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The South Carolina Supreme Court has ordered Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmacetuicals to pay $136 million to the state for deceptively marketing its antipsychotic drug Risperdal. The decision upholds penalties against the company but reduces the damages, which were originally set at $327 million by a trial court in 2011. Justices said the penalty had to be reduced because of South Carolina’s three-year statute of limitations. Risperdal, known generically as risperidone, is used to treat adults and children with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and irritability with autism. The drug has also been prescribed off label to treat attention deficit hyperactivity ... Read More

Analysis: Statins benefits overrated, side effects underreported

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Statin medications, such as the widely prescribed Lipitor, can drive down elevated cholesterol levels, but they have failed to substantially improve users’ chances of having a heart attack or stroke. The drugs also have numerous serious side effects that are pushed under the radar by supporters of statin therapy, according to a study published in the March edition of the medical journal Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology. Dr. David M. Diamond, a professor of psychology, molecular pharmacology and physiology at the University of South Florida, and Dr. Uffe Ravnskov, an independent health researcher and an expert in cholesterol and cardiovascular ... Read More

Patient files first lawsuit in deadly superbug outbreak

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An 18-year-old boy who became infected with a deadly superbug after undergoing a procedure using a specialized endoscope at UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center has filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the surgical tool. The patient, high school student Aaron Young, remains hospitalized with carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, a highly antibiotic-resistant bacteria that kills up to 50 percent of infected patients. The lawsuit names Olympus Corp. of Americans, manufacturers of the specialized endoscope, known as a duodenoscope. UCLA and the University of California regents may also be added as defendants following more investigations into the matter. Duodenoscopes are flexible fiber-optic ... Read More

FDA approves first wireless diabetes glucose monitoring app

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first seamless diabetes glucose monitoring app, which can wirelessly transmit glucose readings directly to an iPhone, giving diabetics more flexibility when it comes to managing their disease. Federal drug and medical device regulators gave a nod to the new version of the Dexcom Share platform, which works with the Dexcom G4 continuous glucose monitor (CGM). The original Dexcom Share, which was approved by the FDA in October 2014, was a docking cradle peripheral that could transmit Dexcom’s glucose readings to a nearby iPhone. The readings were then uploaded through the cloud ... Read More

Study to look anesthesia safety in infants, children

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The effect of anesthesia on infants and children has been hotly debated for years, with some animal studies suggesting the drugs can harm developing brains. But there is no clear evidence that the drugs can cause harm, such as developmental delays or behavior problems later in life. Doctors don’t want to add concern to parents whose children need general anesthesia for crucial surgery. A group of researchers has partnered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to settle the matter once and for all. “Millions of kids safely undergo anesthesia,” said SmartTots co-author Dr. Beverly Orser, a professor of anesthesia ... Read More

Injuries spur Cosco hand truck recall

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After reports of injuries resulting from a defective wheel hub, Cosco Home & Office Products has initiated a substantial hand truck recall of nearly 273,000 units. The 3-in-1 convertible aluminum Cosco hand trucks can be used in either a vertical or horizontal position, depending on the user’s preference. Manufactured from January 2009 to October 2011, the recalled hand trucks have one of two different model numbers:  12-301 ABL and 12-301 ABL1. The Cosco label, which can be found on the rear side of the bottom cross member, will have both the model number and manufacture date printed. Before the recall ... Read More

Tracheotomy humidifiers recalled for cracks

Two recalls have been issued for Teleflex Medical’s MAQUET Servo Humidifier 163 for connector cracks and cracks in connector tubes that may result in serious health consequences including death to patients. Some connector cracks were found when preparing patients for support with a ventilator. These cracks could cause oxygen and other gasses to leak from the ventilator and not deliver sufficient treatment to patients. Cracks were also found in the connector tubes during the manufacturing process and some devices were distributed before the problem was identified. The MAQUET Servo Humidifier is a heat and moisture condenser that is placed over ... Read More

FDA issues injury warning about MRI units

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning health care professionals that some MRI units may have been modified to disable the Magnet Rundown Unit (MRU), which is one method to shut off the magnet field of the MRI in case of emergency, such as when a metal (ferrous) object is brought into the magnet field. In the event of an emergency, a delay in shut off can result in life-threatening injuries. At least two hospital employees have been injured when they entered the MRI room carrying a metal container. The recall is being issued because this defect may cause ... Read More

Novartis seeks more time in whistleblower case

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Drug giant Novartis told a New York federal judge that it needs more time in a whistleblower case. The company said the deadline proposed by a whistleblower seeking the release of the company’s privilege log and other documents as part of a False Claims Act lawsuit is not feasible. “That simply is not a feasible deadline,” Novartis said in a memorandum for opposition. The drug maker also said that throwing documents together in haste would force it “to make important privilege determinations” with prejudice, Law360 reported. Former Novartis employee David Kester filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the drug maker under the ... Read More