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Pharmaceutical industry focus on ‘blockbuster’ medications

The Los Angeles Times on Sunday examined how the business “strategy that has made the pharmaceutical industry one of the wealthiest and most powerful on Earth” might have begun to “betray it.” Pharmaceutical companies for 25 years have “imitated the basic business model of Hollywood” and have “focused on creating blockbusters,” which they “hope will appeal to masses” and “promote like mad,” according to the Times. Pharmaceutical companies must spend as much as $1 billion to promote new medications in their first two years on the market to make the products into a “mega-brand” with at least $1 billion in ... Read More

Poor FDA scrutiny of Medtronic Sprint Fidelis lead

The 2007 Medtronic Sprint Fidelis Defibrillator Lead Recall could just be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to defective implantable medical devices. That’s because the number of medical devices meant to be implanted in patients’ bodies is rapidly rising. Unfortunately, despite their rising numbers, as the case of the Sprint Fidelis Lead recall illustrates, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is doing a poor job of regulating implantable devices, and often ignores reports of device failures until someone dies. Medtronic suspended sales of the Sprint Fidelis Leads in October, after receiving reports of 5 fatalities linked to lead ... Read More

Avandia study shows increased heart risks or death

Older patients who took Avandia had a higher risk of heart attacks, congestive heart failure and death than those on other diabetes pills, according to a study of nearly 160,000 Canadians. For four years, the study followed patients over age 65, who have the highest rate of type 2 diabetes but aren’t well represented in clinical trials, says lead author Lorraine Lipscombe, a Toronto endocrinologist and researcher at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Science, funded by the Ontario government. Lipscombe’s team looked at how patients fared on Avandia or Actos, the only two drugs in their class, compared with those ... Read More

Avandia a big risk to your heart

Montgomery, AL: Joyce A. says she did not know that Avandia could cause so many health problems, at least she did not know until her doctor took her off Avandia and put her on another drug. Unfortunately, this happened after she was hospitalized two times with severe chest pains. Although she has started to recover since being taken off Avandia, she says she still experiences some pain. “I was having severe chest pains and I was hospitalized and told at a later time that taking Avandia could cause the severe pain I was having,” Joyce says. “I thought that I ... Read More

Medtronic settles defective defibrillator lawsuits for $114 Million

Medtronic Inc., the maker of the defective Sprint Fidelis Defibrillator Lead, announced last week that it had reached a settlement agreement regarding another of its faulty medical devices. The company has agreed to pay out $114 million to settle product liability lawsuits filed as the result of injuries cased by its malfunctioning Marquis line of implanted cardiac defibrillators. Despite the huge settlement agreement, Medtronic said it does not admit liability in the litigation. Implantable cardioverter defibrillators, or ICDs, provide shocks to stop hearts from potentially dangerous rapid beating. They treat patients at risk for sudden cardiac death, which is the ... Read More

Ohio Supreme Court upholds law that puts cap on personal injury damages

In a 5-2 decision, the Ohio Supreme Court Thursday morning upheld the constitutionality of a 2004 law capping damages for pain, suffering, and other non-economic claims in personal injury and other lawsuits. In a response to a question posed by U.S. District Court in Toledo, which is considering a federal lawsuit stemming from Johnson & Johnson’s Ortho Evra birth-control patch, the court’s majority found that the General Assembly had the authority to enact the law. “Some may think limitations on certain damages to be unwise legislative policy-making, but it is beyond the authority of any court to write into the ... Read More

Recalled heart implant gives man shock of his life

In early December, Jerry Jackson received the shock of his life. Or six. The 63-year-old Mineola resident was sweeping crumbs off the bed where his granddaughter sat when a sudden surge in his chest caused him to twist in agony. His implanted cardiac defibrillator (ICD) had sent 800 volts of electricity into his heart muscle, a jolt doctors compare to being kicked by a horse. Then it did it again. And again. “I was hollering every time it hit me,” Jackson said. “It hit me six times … it’s a good wallop. I began to think it wasn’t going to ... Read More

Avandia starting to sound a lot like Vioxx

Mark D. is fighting for justice on behalf of his brother, Grant, whose health has gone downhill since he was prescribed Avandia. Grant started taking Avandia two years ago after he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Prior to taking Avandia, he had no history of heart problems. “Grant had never had any problems in the past,” Mark says. “He had a clean bill of health in terms of his heart prior to that. There was no history of heart disease in our family.” Within a year of being on Avandia, Grant was diagnosed with high blood pressure. Within two ... Read More

Avandia heart attacks seen in general patient population

The consequences of deadly Avandia side-effects are now being seen in the general population, a new study has found. Previously, evidence that Avandia placed patients at an increased risk of heart attacks had only been seen in clinical trials. But now, Canadian researchers have found that patients taking the controversial diabetes drug who are not enrolled in clinical trials are showing increased evidence of heart attacks and other cardiac problems. Avandia’s heart attack link came to light when an analysis of 42 clinical trails published by the Cleveland Clinic in May showed that patients taking the drug had a 43% ... Read More

Sprint Fidelis defibrillator lead patients faced with difficult dilemma

Many patients implanted with defective Medtronic Sprint Fidelis Defibrillator Leads have found themselves in a medical limbo. If they are fortunate enough not to have already experienced a lead fracture, they must decide between two difficult choices, leave the Sprint Fidelis lead alone and hope it won’t fracture; or undergo a difficult and dangerous surgery to have the faulty lead replaced. Both options are bad ones, a fact that has left many Sprint Fidelis Lead patients anxious and confused. Medtronic suspended sales of the Sprint Fidelis Leads after receiving reports of 5 fatalities linked to lead fractures. A lead is ... Read More