Latest News

Tractor-Trailer Driver Arrested In Deadly California Collision

An allegedly intoxicated tractor-trailer driver who caused a deadly six-vehicle pileup in Orcutt, California, will face at least two criminal charges, investigating authorities say. On Feb. 7, Gilbert Pena, 56, was driving a tractor-trailer on Highway 135 southbound in Orcutt when his truck slammed into the back of a Nissan sedan, killing 60-year-old Orcutt resident Rickie Motley and his passenger, 24-year-old Solvang resident Jesse Donald Gluyas. The collision drove the Nissan into four other vehicles causing a pileup that injured two other people. The California Highway Patrol doesn’t know why Mr. Pena drove his tractor-trailer into the cars, but an ... Read More

Overdoses of OTC diarrhea drug increase in wake of opioid epidemic

Overdoses of an inexpensive, readily available, over-the-counter diarrhea drug have multiplied in recent years, in many cases by people addicted to opioids. They are using the drug seeking to prevent or self-treat withdrawal symptoms or to mimic the high of opioids like heroin, fentanyl or oxycodone, according to a study published in the journal Clinical Toxicology. Loperamide, also known by the brand-name Imodium, is a safe and effective drug for diarrhea when taken at its recommended dosage. But at higher doses, loperamide can cause opioid-like euphoria, and has even been dubbed “the poor man’s methadone” by clinicians. The misuse of ... Read More

FDA investigating allegations of asbestos in talc

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is looking into the possibility that cosmetics containing talc may be contaminated with asbestos and will “take appropriate actions to protect consumers,” the agency told SELF magazine. SELF posed the question, “How Worried Do You Need to Be About Asbestos in Baby Powder and Other Talc Products?” in a recent issue of its online magazine. The story follows a Reuters investigation in December that revealed that Johnson & Johnson knew for decades that its talcum powder products may have been contaminated with cancer-causing asbestos, but the company never informed federal regulators nor did it warn ... Read More

Whistleblower Lawsuit Leads to $17 Million Recovery from Pentec Health

A whistleblower who filed a False Claims Act lawsuit against her former employer, Pentec Health Inc., has helped the U.S. government recover $17 million for Medicare and other federal health care programs. Jean Brasher filed the whistleblower lawsuit in October 2013 accusing Pennsylvania-based Penter Health Inc. of billing Medicare and other government programs for excessive amounts of its renal drug Proplete. According to the U.S. Justice Department, the whistleblower lawsuit alleged that Pentec also routinely waived patient copayments and deductible obligations to incentivize beneficiaries of the government programs to get Proplete prescriptions, even when more affordable options were available. Additionally, ... Read More

Naval Academy addresses sexual misconduct among midshipmen

Nearly 60 percent of women and 20 percent of men felt sexually harassed while attending the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, last year, according to an annual Defense Department report on misconduct at the service academies. But despite an increase in sexual misconduct found in the voluntary survey of midshipmen, such incidents go largely unreported. The Naval Academy has an anonymous reporting system where midshipmen can report sexual harassment and other issues without fear of retaliation. Despite this, midshipmen made only two informal reports and no formal reports of sexual harassment last year. The year prior, there were ... Read More

Study focuses on most effective treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma

The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation) awarded a research grant to detect gene mutations in specific subtypes of peritoneal mesothelioma in hopes of identifying already available therapies for these patients as well as developing new screening tools. The study, led by Waqas Amin, M.D., with the University of Pittsburgh, will analyze three histological subtypes (epithelioid, biphasic and sarcomatoid) in peritoneal mesothelioma to find the most significant gene mutations for better characterization and identification of genetic variants. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer associated with asbestos exposure. Peritoneal mesothelioma is the second most common type of the disease, affecting ... Read More

U.S. Traffic Deaths Exceed 40K for Third Consecutive Year

U.S. traffic deaths exceeded 40,000 in 2018, the third year in a row that the number of people killed in traffic accidents surpassed the 40k mark. Additionally, 4.5 million people were seriously injured last year in traffic crashes, a 1-percent rise over 2017’s figures, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). Although data shows that traffic deaths have dipped slightly since 2016 (40,327 deaths) and 2017 (40,231 deaths), the estimated 40,000 people killed in 2018 is still 14 percent higher than four years ago. The spikes in traffic deaths were found in Florida, Hawaii, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania ... Read More

Imerys files for bankruptcy amid mounting talc litigation

Johnson & Johnson’s talc supplier, Imerys Talc America, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in an effort to protect itself against more than 14,600 lawsuits in the U.S. that claim its talc causes cancer. Imerys Talc Vermont and Imerys Talc Canada Inc., also filed for bankruptcy. All three are subsidiaries of Paris-based Imerys SA. The filing will enable the companies to establish a trust to fund current and future claims. All lawsuits against the company involving cancer claims will also be centralized under one judge. “After carefully evaluating all possible options, we determined pursuing Chapter 11 protection is the best ... Read More

Fracking Company Antero Pays $3.15M to Settle West Virginia Water Pollution Allegations

Antero Resources Corporation agreed to pay the U.S. government and state of West Virginia $3.15 million for violations of the Clean Water Act that allegedly polluted the environment in 32 locations across northern West Virginia. The settlement underscores some of the environmental hazards that the fracking industry is unleashing on public lands. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Antero illegally disposed of dredged and fill materials used in the fracking process into U.S. waters or near sites where the company had constructed well pads, compressor stations, impoundments, pipeline crossings, access roads, and other structures associated with its hydraulic fracturing ... Read More

U.S. Government Sues Lockheed Martin, Alleging Hanford Nuclear Cleanup Fraud

The notorious Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Southeastern Washington has been mired in fraud and corruption for decades, ever since the U.S. government started paying contractors billions of dollars to clean up and convert 56 million gallons of radioactive sludge. On Feb. 8, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced it has lodged a False Claims Act lawsuit against Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed Martin, alleging the company and its executives used a $232 million support contract for nuclear waste disposal to enrich themselves. According to federal prosecutors, Lockheed Martin engaged in a fraudulent kickback scheme by paying more than $1 million to ... Read More