Yearly Archives: 2011

Latest News

Potent new painkiller could unleash new epidemic of addiction and abuse

Four pharmaceutical companies have nearly finished creating a powerful new painkilling medicine made of pure hydrocodone that addiction experts warn could set off a new addiction epidemic if it wins U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval. Hydrocodone, better known as Vicodin, is currently the most commonly prescribed and the second most widely abused prescription drug in the United States behind OxyContin. However, hydrocodone is currently available only as part of a compound that includes the non-addictive painkiller acetaminophen. The new form of pure hydrocodone in development would be ten times more potent than the kind already on the market. According ... Read More

States come out in support of graphic ads on cigarette packs

Several states have come forward to say the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should be granted the authority to force cigarette companies to place gruesome ads on packages of cigarettes in an effort to warn consumers of the dangers of smoking, and persuade nonsmokers, in particular children and teenagers, not to take up the habit in the first place.  The new warnings were to go into effect beginning Oct. 12, 2012, but a lawsuit filed by the tobacco industry last fall has stifled the plan. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon blocked the labels while he decides whether the use of ... Read More

Family of Marine killed in sudden acceleration crash sues Toyota

The family of a Marine who served two tours of combat duty in Iraq only to be killed in Knoxville, Tennessee, when his Toyota Yaris suddenly sped out of control, is suing the carmaker. The new lawsuit is one of the latest cases to join the multi-district litigation involving sudden, unintended acceleration in Toyota and Lexus cars, which have been consolidated in a Santa Ana, California, federal court under Judge James Selna. The 23-year-old Marine was working and attending college in Knoxville. On the morning of December 23, 2010, he was on his way to work to pick up a ... Read More

U.S. prosecutors prepare criminal charges against BP engineers

“U.S. prosecutors are preparing what would be the first criminal charges against BP PLC employees stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident, which killed 11 workers and caused the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history,” the Wall Street Journal reported this morning. Citing “people familiar with the matter,” the Wall Street Journal reports the prosecutors currently “are focused on several Houston-based engineers and at least one of their supervisors at the British oil company, although the breadth of the investigation isn’t known.” The U.S. prosecutors allegedly believe the engineers “may have provided false information to regulators about the risks ... Read More

All-metal hip implant settlements could cost manufacturers $5 billion, analyst says

An economic analyst and Forbes contributor estimates all-metal hip devices will ultimately cost Johnson & Johnson subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics and other manufacturers about $5 billion in legal fees and settlement costs. Orthopedic hip device manufacturers developed metal-on-metal hip replacements about 10 years ago as a stronger, longer-lived alternative to traditional hip implants, which incorporate plastic or ceramic components in addition to metal. But now it appears these metal-on-metal implants are hurting the patients who receive them as well the companies that make them. All artificial hip systems more or less release particles of the components they are made of into ... Read More

Senator calls for FDA review of OTC energy inhaler

A New York senator is asking the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to review the safety and legality of the AeroShot Pure Energy caffeine inhaler, a lipstick-sized canister of caffeine powder and B vitamins, which will hit store shelves in New York and Boston next month. The energy inhaler will be sold over-the-counter with no age restrictions, and is being marketed for its convenience and zero calories. Democrat Charles Schumer warns that the product could be considered a “club drug” and be particularly hazardous to teenagers. If taken with alcohol, the product could have the effects similar to caffeinated alcohol ... Read More

Birth control called ‘secondary cause of death’ in young woman taking Yaz

It was mere hours after Rebecca Bapp called her parents to say that she wasn’t feeling well that the 21-year-old was dead. Mysteriously, her health declined so rapidly even doctors were baffled by what was making her so ill. Not long after her parents rushed her to the hospital, she was placed on a breathing machine and sedated. She coded three times before she gave up her fight for life. Confused by her daughter’s sudden illness, Rebecca’s parents ordered an autopsy. The primary cause of death was a blood clot in her heart. “The secondary cause of death was her ... Read More

Court subpoenas BP exec for February trial

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier has subpoenaed Lamar McKay, BP’s highest-ranking U.S. executive, to testify at the forthcoming trial in New Orleans that will determine liability for 206-million-gallon oil spill that erupted in the Gulf of Mexico last year. U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans is presiding over multidistrict litigation involving the BP oil spill and has scheduled a nonjury trial to open on February 27. BP and its partners Transocean, which owned and leased the Deepwater Horizon rig to BP, and Halliburton, the company BP contracted to cement the Macondo well, face about 350 lawsuits filed by ... Read More

Build-A-Bear recalls Colorful Hearts Bear for choking hazard

The Build-A-Bear Workshop has announced a voluntary safety recall on its Colorful Hearts Teddy. The company says certain production runs of the bear may have used sub-standard fabric that can tear around the toy's eye. This may result in the eye falling out of the bear and poses a potential choking hazard. ... Read More

Florida heart transplant flight crash kills three

A medical transport flight carrying a donor heart to a recipient in Jacksonville, Florida, crashed into a wooded area of north Florida around 6:00 Monday morning, killing the pilot, a heart surgeon, and an organ procurement technician. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators continue to probe the crash, which occurred in a densely wooded and remote area of Florida about 45 miles northeast of Gainesville.  The Bell 206 helicopter was en route to Shands’ LifeQuest Organ Recovery Service at the University of Florida in Gainesville to pick up a donor heart when it crashed. Although no flight plan was filed, ... Read More