Latest News

Charge dropped due to Chantix use

A man who disrupted a Thanksgiving Day flight and forced an emergency landing has been let off the hook for federal charges after a judge determined the man was emotionally disturbed as a result of taking the stop-smoking drug Chantix, according to an Associated Press report. The man, Andrew James Smith, 25, of California, was prescribed the drug a few weeks before the flight. Factoring into the decision was the fact that Smith did not have any prior record of criminal activity or psychiatric disorders, the AP report says. This incident is the latest in a crop of reports that ... Read More

Nursing home fines, bonuses

On March 3, the Des Moines Register reported that in 2007 the state fined 23 Iowa nursing homes $10,000 or more for providing substandard care. Some of those homes were also hit with federal fines and sanctions against their state licenses. Of those 23 homes, 16 stand to collect bonus Medicaid payments this year from state and federal taxpayers, according to the Register. The bonuses are tied to a state program that rewards nursing homes for providing quality, cost-effective care. Elderly abuse is a crime. If you or a loved one have suffered nursing home abuse and neglect, please contact ... Read More

Trasylol: just one of Bayer’s woes

An article in this week’s Business Week reveals a dualistic Bayer. On one hand, the pharmaceutical giant is “flush with success,” with projected sales just shy of $50 billion and increased dividends for shareholders. On the other hand, Bayer has been racked by a sequence of bad luck that threatens to sully its future fiscal health and innovation. What are the elements at work behind this dichotomy? Trasylol, Bayer’s injectable aprotinin for heart patients, is largely responsible for the gloom that many analysts forecast for Bayer. Approved by the FDA in 1993 for use in controlling blood loss during heart ... Read More

Dark side of Chantix comes to light

Once hailed as a miracle drug for helping people to stop smoking, Pfizer’s Chantix has recently raised concerns as reports surface that it may have a disturbing side effect – suicidal thoughts and actions. A report in the New Jersey Star-Ledger notes that the FDA is investigating reports of a number of serious psychological side effects. In additon to suicidal actions, reports include agitation and depression. As a result of these reports, the FDA issued a public advisory, and required new safety warnings on the label. However, the FDA said it is still not sure if the side effects are ... Read More

Death by Trasylol: one man’s story

Joseph Randone was a healthy 52-year old family man from Long Island when he underwent heart valve replacement surgery at Stony Brook University Hopsital in New York. The risks were low, according to his surgeon. Joe would likely return home to recover after less than a week in the hospital. Months later, Randone was still in the hospital fighting a losing battle for his life. The problem began during surgery, when Randone was hooked to an IV drip containing Trasylol for four hours. Trasylol is administered to control blood loss during heart surgery. It is one of the most widely ... Read More

Hormone therapy update

According to the World Health Organization, breast cancer is the most common cancer worldwide among women. It is the fifth most deadly cancer, killing about 502,000 people per year. All of us know a family who has had to deal with this most serious problem. A study published in the January issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention found that women who used combination hormone therapy for three or more years had a higher risk of lobular cancer. The study was led by Dr. Christopher Li of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and was designed to evaluate the relationship ... Read More

Lead shocks send patient to psychiatrist

A patient affected by Medtronic’s 2007 recall of defibrillator leads is suing the company, claiming unnecessary shocks led to post-traumatic stress syndrome that required psychiatric treatment. Plaintiff Donald Jackson received an implantable cardioverter defibrillator containing a Sprint Fidelis lead in 2006, which he says gave him unexpected and medically unnecessary shocks, causing excruciating pain. The shocks caused “great physical, emotional and psychological suffering and extreme anxiety,” placing Jackson in “imminent apprehension of death,” the complaint says. It adds that Jackson is now prescribed mood-stabilizing drugs. And, as a result of problems with the lead, he has an increased risk of ... Read More

Ortho Evra birth control patch label change

The FDA approved a label change to Johnson & Johnson’s Ortho Evra birth control patch on January 18, 2008. The patch has been known to cause blood clots which can lead to pulmonary embolism and death. The label change comes after testing revealed women on the patch between the ages of 15-44 are at a higher risk for pulmonary embolism. Currently there is litigation pending throughout the United States, including in Chicago, relating to the use of the Ortho Evra patch. Plaintiffs have filed claims after suffering from blood clots, pulmonary embolisms and in some cases death. The side effects ... Read More

NSF study finds link between Gadolinium used in MRI and debilitating disease

Another Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis (NSF) study has tied the debilitating condition to Gadolinium contrast agents used in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). This latest NSF research was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which examined a cluster of NSF patients at one unidentified St. Louis Missouri Hospital. The CDC found that the exposure to Gadolinium contrast dyes during MRI was independently associated with the development of NSF. NSF (sometimes called Nephrogenic Fibrosing Dermopathy or NFD) was first seen in patients in 1997, and it wasn’t mentioned in medical literature until 2000. NSF leads to excessive formation of connective tissue ... Read More

GSK Sent Avandia meta analysis before publication

GlaxoSmithKline’s Avandia is once again making the headlines after it was revealed that the peer reviewer looking at the now-notorious meta-analysis on the diabetes drug’s safety profile leaked a confidential copy of the article to the firm before it was published in the New England Journal of Medicine Details of this strange turn of events were about to be published in the journal Nature before US Senator Charles Grassley broke its embargo and issued a letter written to GSK asking the firm what action it had taken on receiving the article from Steven Haffner of the University of Texas Health ... Read More