Latest News

consumer group urges Ortho Evra ban

Public Citizen, an 80,000-member nonprofit organization dedicated to consumer advocacy, petitioned the FDA to ban Johnson & Johnson’s contraceptive patch Ortho Evra (ethinyl estradiol/norelgestromin). The organization requested complete removal of the contraceptive within 6 months. Clinical data show that the Ortho-Evra patch carries greater risks compared to standard contraception in pill form without providing any real benefits. Public Citizen’s petition listed several reasons why the patch should be banned, including: Potentially toxic levels of synthetic estrogen, up to 60% more on average Greater variability in estrogen levels than standard oral birth control / inconsistent dosages depending on where on the ... Read More

Health department stripped of nursing home responsibilities

The Westside Health Care Center nursing home and its adjacent Terrace at Westside residential-care facility in Cincinnati, Ohio, had become known as the home of last resort for the poor and mentally ill. Many of the residents had been kicked out of other nursing facilities and halfway houses. Many had drug addictions or mental illnesses. It seemed as if there was no one else to care for them. A recent investigation has revealed that the residents there were subjected to deplorable living conditions, resulting in the nursing home closing and the Cincinnati Health Department being stripped of its ability to ... Read More

FDA makes blunder during hiring of PR firm to improve image

Every company can use a good spin doctor from time to time, and it looks like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is no exception. Last month I told you that California Rep. Harry Waxman, who serves as head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, raised concerns that items outlined on the FDA’s 2007 priorities list appeared to prioritize industry desires over consumer protection. This, just months after more than 80 American deaths were linked to tainted heparin that was made in Baxter International Inc.’s facility in China. FDA officials later acknowledged they had not inspected that facility ... Read More

NHTSA roof crush rule delayed to December

In June, we reported that the U.S. Senate panel reviewing a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposal for increased standards in roof strength had asked the agency to delay its decision, originally scheduled for July 1. The NHTSA agreed to further review of the policy, and set a new date for release on Oct. 1. Yesterday, the agency announced another delay, pushing the decision back to December, according to a report in the Detroit News. Several items in the proposed new standard, which updates the 35-year-old current regulation of vehicle roof strength, are being reviewed. The new standard would ... Read More

Synthetic heparin expected to launch early 2009

Australia-based Alchemia, a biotechnology company specializing in synthesis and manipulation of carbohydrates, announced on its Web site that it is on target to launch its antithrombotic drug, generic fondaparinux. Generic fondaparinux targets the multi-billion dollar heparin drug market. The company claims fondaparinux has a superior safety and efficacy profile to the market-leading drug Lovenox. Meanwhile, the brand-name fondaparinux drug Arixtra, made by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) continues to gain market share. Alchemia’s CEO, Dr Peter Smith said “The impending commercialization of generic fondaparinux and anticipated revenues in calendar year 2009 will form a strong financial base for Alchemia. This will enable the ... Read More

Two suits filed against Bayer in Illinois

Two Illinois residents have filed suit against Bayer, claiming that Trasylol injections led to acute renal failure and other problems in one case and death in the other. Both complaints were filed in the St. Clair County Circuit Court. Gary Harms received a Trasylol injection in 2005 while he was undergoing heart surgery at Des Peres Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. He has since suffered from acute renal failure and requires regular dialysis to perform the functions of his failed kidneys. Researchers first discovered a link between Trasylol and kidney failure in the early 1980s when lab animals that received ... Read More

Gauging nursing home care quality can be tricky

More than 90 percent of nursing homes were cited for violations of federal health and safety standards last year, according to the New York Times . Seventeen percent of nursing facilities had serious deficiencies such as bedsores, medication mix-ups, poor nutrition, and abuse and neglect. However, of the 37,150 complaints inspectors received in 2007 about the condition of nursing homes, only 39 percent were substantiated and about 20 percent of those verified complaints involved patient neglect. Measuring the quality of a nursing home is not always clear-cut. More that 1.5 million people live in 15,000 nursing homes throughout the country. Each facility is inspected annually and must meet federal standards in order to participate in Medicaid and Medicare. Unfortunately, while ... Read More

RMK lawsuits may be consolidated in Tennessee

The Daily News, which covers Memphis, reported yesterday that class action cases against Regions Morgan Keegan (RMK) pending in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee may be consolidated under U.S. District Judge Hardy Mays. The paper reports Judge Mays issued a ruling Tuesday that answers some questions about the request, and which group or groups could be selected as lead plaintiff in that event. The RMK litigation involves investment funds managed by a branch of Morgan Keegan & Co., which is based in Memphis. Regions Financial Corp., headquartered in Birmingham, owns Morgan Asset Management, an arm of ... Read More

Ammunition handler’s job is for the birds

Shortly after Patricia Howard took a job a contract job with USA Environmental, something just didn’t seem to smell right. The ammunition handler was sent to Iraq with the company in January 2004 to dispose of thousands of tons of explosives. Howard knew the work would be hazardous. She would be working in warehouses where hundreds of tons of ammunition are stored. But what she began to fear most was not the dangerous firepower surrounding her, but the other thing the warehouses contained: pigeon droppings. And not just a white dusting here and there, but thousands of tons of aviary ... Read More

Elder abuse, neglect often goes unnoticed

You could say that Clifford Verity meant well. He moved in with his aging mother, Ruth, took her to doctors’ appointments, even brought home fresh fish for dinner. He had worked previously as a certified nursing assistant caring for elderly in a nursing facility, and felt he could grant her wish not to be moved into a nursing home, but to age and die gracefully at home. Then her health began to spiral downward, confining her to bed and leaving her helpless. Neighbors no longer saw her and trusted Clifford was handling her needs. When Ruth died, medics came to ... Read More