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Texas jury clears Yamaha in Rhino rollover case

The Texas jury that heard the first case against Yamaha and its popular Rhino, an all-terrain vehicle that consumer groups and safety advocates claim is highly unstable and deadly, ruled in the manufacturer’s favor last week. The case was brought to court by the parents of Forrest “Eddie” Ray, a 13-year-old boy who was killed in 2007 when the Rhino he was driving flipped. Jurors deliberated for about 2 hours before reaching their verdict. During the trial, Mike Burleson, who works for System Engineering & Laboratories, testified on behalf of the plaintiffs. The engineering expert said that the Rhino’s narrow stance, ... Read More

Salix plans to increase sales force to push new gastroparesis drug

Salix Pharmaceuticals plans to increase its sales force by 60 percent in anticipation of approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the drug maker’s new treatment for gastroparesis. The FDA recently accepted the complete response from the Morrisville, North Carolina-based pharmaceutical company for its orally disintegrating tablet (ORT), a form of metoclopramide called Metozolv, and has granted a Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) for September 11, 2009. A PDUFA authorizes the FDA to collect fees from companies that produce certain human drug and biological products. Salix hopes to gain full FDA approval to market Metozolv as a ... Read More

Illinois boy dies while riding Chinese-made ATV

An all-terrain vehicle accident has claimed the life of a 7-year-old boy from Troy, Illinois. Authorities investigating the accident say that Austin J. Henry was riding a Chinese-made ATV on his parents’ property when he apparently lost control of the vehicle. “Parental supervision was present he had a helmet on and apparently he has ridden the ATV several times in the past,” Capt. Ron Luttrell of the Troy Police Department, told Fox 2 News of St. Louis, Ill. The boy’s father says that he suspects the throttle on the ATV jammed, causing his son to accelerate uncontrollably. The ATV hit ... Read More

TVA to raise rates, borrow money, cut spending

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), facing a near-$1 billion bill for the cleanup of a massive coal ash spill at its Kingston, Tenn., coal-firing plant, a pension shortfall, waning power sales, and court-ordered environmental upgrades, says it will increase electric rates, borrow up to $3 billion over three years, and cut spending in order to pay its due. The nation’s largest utility has been caught in a swarm of  bad luck, beginning with the largest drop in sales it had ever seen in its 76-year history, thanks to a struggling national economy. That was compounded by court-ordered clean-air improvements to ... Read More

Uniontown residents concerned about shipments of coal ash

Coal ash recovered from an east Tennessee community where the toxic material spilled after an impoundment pond breached at the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) coal-firing plant in Kingston, Tenn., is already being shipped to landfills in other states, creating jobs and bringing money to impoverished counties, but residents of an Alabama community receiving the shipments aren’t pleased. “Money ain’t worth everything,” says Mary Gibson Holley, a retired teacher in Uniontown, in an interview with the New York Times.“In the long run, they ain’t looking about what this could do to the community if something goes wrong.” When the coal ash ... Read More

TNF blockers found to cause cancer in children

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced today that it has completed its analysis on a class of arthritis drugs known as tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers and has concluded that there is an increased risk of lymphoma and other cancers associated with use of the drugs. The analysis first came to light in early June through an early communication by the FDA, and early last month the FDA said it would require the drug makers to add a stronger warning to the black box warning currently on the products, which warns of an increased risk of malignancies but does ... Read More

Justice Dept. hits Pfizer with $2.3 billion in fines and civil penalties

With the nation’s healthcare system groaning under epic pressure, you would think that the pharmaceutical giants would be a little more judicious in the way they promote their drugs and sell them to federal, state, and municipal government programs. Perhaps they will be, now that the United States Department of Justice has slapped Pfizer with a record $2.3 billion fine for defrauding the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Pfizer has agreed to pay $1.3 billion in criminal penalties to the Justice Department for its illegal promotion of Bextra, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug used to treat arthritis and menstrual pain. Pfizer followed ... Read More

OfficeMax recalls office chairs due to fall hazard

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with OfficeMax, has issued a recall for Office Max Task Chairs. The back and base post of the chair can break while in use, posing a fall hazard. About 216,000 units of this product were produced and sold at OfficeMax stores nationwide. ... Read More

Wal-Mart announces recall expansion on DVD players

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced an expanded recall of Durabrand DVD players, sold at Wal-Mart. This is an expansion of an earlier recall issued Aug. 20. While the expanded recall still involves a single DVD player with remote control, the expanded warning covers all three colors in which this product is available, silver, pink and purple. The product can overheat, causing a fire hazard. ... Read More

CBS reports Toyota destroyed evidence in rollover, roof crush cases

An investigative report by CBS reveals the lengths some big corporations will go to conceal evidence that casts the company and its products in a dubious light. The report features Dimitrios Biller, a former attorney for Toyota, who accuses the car manufacturer of withholding and destroying evidence in more than 300 rollover and roof crush lawsuits. Biller alleges Toyota took measures to hide evidence “of its vehicles’ structural shortcomings,” an effort which he claims amounted to a “ruthless conspiracy.” Biller, who once served as the managing counsel for Toyota Motor Sales USA, filed a federal racketeering suit against Toyota on ... Read More