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NHTSA updates air bag defect warning to include another three million vehicles

Takata airbag - image source alexauto321, wikicommons

Shortly following the U.S. government’s plea to nearly five million car owners to learn more about a life-threatening air bag defect, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has updated its warning to include three million more car owners believed to be driving under dangerous circumstances. According to the safety alert, the NHTSA is making the public aware of inflator mechanisms within the affected vehicles’ airbag systems that may rupture upon impact, triggering an arsenal of metal fragments to violently fly out as the bags are being deployed. Takata Corp., one of the world’s largest automotive suppliers in the world, manufacturing air ... Read More

Naproxen recall issued due to packaging mix-up

Assured brand naproxen sodium tablets recalled

Thousands of boxes of the over-the-counter painkiller Naproxen Sodium are being recalled because some cartons actually contain bottles of ibuprofen, a different pain reliever. The naproxen recall, initiated by Contract Packaging Resources, involves 11,640 boxes of Assured brand Naproxen Sodium Tablets 220mg, 15 count with the Lot #FH4102A and SKU #122368/UPC #639277223685. The boxes contain bottles of ibuprofen softgels in 200mg. The mix-up could cause problems for consumers who intentionally avoid using ibuprofen due to allergies or other medical conditions. Allergic reactions can range from mild irritation or hives to serious reactions such as anaphylaxes that may be life-threatening. Contract ... Read More

Texas guardrail maker loses whistleblower case, jury orders company to pay $175 million

guard-rail - KCPQ-TV image

A Texas guardrail manufacturer accused by a whistleblower of defrauding the federal government has been ordered to pay $175 million by a federal jury. Dallas-based Trinity industries for years has manufactured guardrail systems for the Federal Highway Administration (FHA), which uses them on highways in most every state. In 2012, whistleblower Josh Harman, a Virginia guardrail installer and safety advocate, sued Trinity under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, accusing the company of secretly changing the design of its government-approved ET-Plus guardrail system. According to Mr. Harman, the redesigned ET-Plus guardrails cost less for Trinity to produce ... Read More

More deaths and injuries due to dangerous Takata airbags lead to rare urgent plea from U.S. government

Takata airbag - image source alexauto321, wikicommons

In order to try and prevent further deaths and injuries to drivers or passengers on the road, the U.S. government has issued a shocking plea to the almost five million people currently driving vehicles with potentially deadly Takata airbags. Drivers of the affected vehicles are being urged to visit their dealership immediately to have the airbags inspected and possibly repaired or replaced. According to Takata Corp., the Tokyo-based supplier of the airbags in question, the inflating mechanisms within the airbags may rupture violently, causing multiple metal fragments to disperse rapidly into whatever may be in front of them. Safety advocates have confirmed ... Read More

Merck company Organon to pay several states $31 million to settle Medicaid fraud allegations

whistleblower

Following an investigation into possible Medicaid fraud, Drug maker Organon USA Inc., a subsidiary of pharmaceutical giant Merck, has agreed to pay $31 million to settle allegations by several U.S. states that it overcharged their Medicaid programs for the anti-depressant Remeron and Remeron SolTab. The states claimed that Organon encouraged pharmacies to offer Remeron to their nursing home clients by providing the drug at a discount, which gave Organon a competitive edge against other drug manufacturers. Organon then reported the drug’s full cost when it sought reimbursements from the Medicaid programs in multiple states, the plaintiffs alleged. Washington D.C. and ... Read More

GM’s top lawyer to retire amid ignition switch defect scandal

GM recall

General Motors (GM)’s top lawyer Michael Millikin is retiring from the company early next year after a 36-year career with the Detroit automaker. His resignation comes amid a U.S. Justice Department investigation of the company’s handling of its deadly ignition switch defect, which affects 2.6 million vehicles and has been linked to at least 29 deaths and 27 serious injuries. Mr. Millikin and GM’s entire legal team have fallen under harsh criticism after it became known that they played a key role in the company’s inaction while millions of vehicles with defective, potentially deadly ignition switches rolled off GM assembly ... Read More

NHTSA warns consumers about exploding airbags, urges vehicle owners to have cars inspected

Takata airbag - image source alexauto321, wikicommons

Following an investigation into possible exploding airbags it began in June, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued an urgent warning to motorists. The agency notes more than 4.7 million vehicles may contain defective airbags manufactured by Takeda, which can explode in even a minor collision, sending shrapnel flying at drivers and passengers. Automakers worldwide already have recalled 12 million vehicles for the problem. Takata airbags are used in a variety of automobiles produced by different manufacturers. The NHTSA alert includes cars made by Toyota, Honda, Mazda, BMW, Nissan, General Motors (GM), and Ford. The problem appears to be ... Read More

Generic drug maker Ranbaxy settles Texas Medicaid fraud lawsuit for $40 million

whistleblower

Indian generic drug manufacturer Ranbaxy Laboratories has agreed to pay the State of Texas nearly $40 million to resolve a Texas Medicaid fraud lawsuit alleging the company defrauded the Texas Medicaid program by reporting inflated market prices for its drugs, resulting in larger reimbursements. The agreement calls for Ranbaxy to pay the Texas general revenue fund and the federal government each $17.875 million and another $4 million in attorney fees to the state’s attorney general office. The federal government receives a percentage of the settlement funds because it subsidizes state Medicaid programs. The payments, totaling $39.75 million, will be made in ... Read More

NTSB investigating Chicago area plane crash that killed three physicians

airplane propeller

Three Kansas hospital physicians were killed in a plane crash Sunday Oct. 12 when their twin-engine Beechcraft Baron crashed in a vacant lot in a densely populated Chicago suburb. The victims were identified as neurosurgeon Tausif Rehman, pulmonologist Ali A. Kanchwala, and Dr. Kanchwala’s wife Maria Javaid, a cardiologist. Drs. Rehman and Kanchwala worked for Stormont-Vail Healthcare in Topeka, Kansas, and Dr. Javaid worked for Providence Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas. No other casualties or injuries were reported. The airplane carrying the three physicians, all of whom were originally from Pakistan, crashed in the Palos Hills community about five minutes ... Read More

BP oil spill fine money gives Louisiana coastal restoration plans new hope

bpstat

In the last 80 years, Louisiana has lost a football field of land every day to the sea – the fastest known case of coastal erosion in the world and one triggered, then accelerated, by more and more shipping canals carved through fragile wetlands by offshore oil drillers. Today, a push to reverse the erosion and rebuild some of the land that now lies under the Gulf has pinned its hopes on funds that will come from Louisiana’s share of pollution fines BP will pay for violating the Clean Water Act with its 2010 oil spill. Last month, U.S. District ... Read More