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Judge limits expert testimony in upcoming Xarelto side effects trial

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U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon, overseeing more than 16,000 cases in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) involving Xarelto bleeding risks, ruled to exclude the drug makers’ expert testimony from Dr. James A. Reiffel. The expert presented by Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Bayer would have testified that patients taking Xarelto might have abruptly stopped taking the blood thinner due to attorney advertising. The first bellwether trial in the multidistrict litigation is scheduled to begin today. Both parties are arguing to limit or exclude expert testimony from the opposing sides. Judge Fallon agreed to allow experts for the defense to testify ... Read More

Jellyfish protein supplement maker defends memory boosting benefits in court

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Wisconsin-based Quincy Bioscience told a New York federal court that its advertisements promoting the memory boosting effects of a jellyfish protein are not false or misleading because they are based on the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) “gold standard of scientific testing.” The company is facing claims by the FTC and the New York Attorney General’s Office that the company’s cited studies are not valid because they use specific subgroups. Quincy Bioscience argued that it referenced placebo-controlled, double-blind studies to prove the jellyfish protein offered cognitive benefits to users. Quincy Bioscience’s jellyfish protein is sold under the name brand Prevagen and ... Read More

Talc litigation asks when to warn consumers of health risks

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An attorney analyzing the legal landscape for the Claims Journal used the talc litigation to examine the issue of failure to warn. He concluded that manufacturers and their insurers can’t assume that the argument that they are waiting on a scientific consensus about an alleged risk associated with their product will protect them from liability. In spite of the fact that scientists are still studying the effects of talc on the female reproductive system and that there is debate over how to interpret the decades of research that has already been done, three juries in 2016 found Johnson and Johnson to be liable ... Read More

Alabama company Pays New York State $40 Million To Settle False Claims Act Tax Fraud Case

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An Alabama investment group and some of its top executives have agreed to pay New York State $40 million to settle a New York False Claims Act lawsuit brought by a whistleblower who claimed the company committed tax fraud, cheating New York out of millions of dollars in taxes. The settlement is the largest-ever recovery of its kind since New York’s False Claims Act law was expanded to include tax claims. It resolves allegations that Birmingham-based Harbert Management Corporation, sponsor of Harbinger Capital Partners, a $26 billion New York City-based hedge fund, failed to pay millions in state taxes on ... Read More

New talc trial alleging ovarian cancer risk underway in Missouri

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Johnson and Johnson’s attorney said in opening arguments of the fifth talc trial that is now underway in Missouri that government agencies have not determined that talc is a risk factor for ovarian cancer. However, the plaintiff’s attorney promises to show evidence that J&J and co-defendant Imerys Talc America used corporate power to influence government agencies, successfully preventing talc regulation. “In internal documents, the mantra of the defendants has consistently been, ‘It’s time to create more confusion,’” said the plaintiff’s attorney Allen Smith, according to the St. Louis Record. “Johnson & Johnson has never warned the public about this hazard,” Smith told jurors, ... Read More

HSBC Settles Whistleblower lawsuit alleging SBA Loan Fraud

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HSBC Bank USA has agreed to pay the U.S. more than $2 million to settle a False Claims Act lawsuit filed by a whistleblower who alleged the bank sought reimbursement from the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) for loans it knew to fraudulent or based on fraudulent information. The SBA operates a loan program called SBAExpress, which guarantees lenders half the value of loans they make to start-ups and other small businesses. The program is designed to incentivize banks to loan to small businesses by reducing risk, spurring economic development and growth. The False Claims Act complaint, filed by whistleblower ... Read More

Parties argue over allowed testimony ahead of first Xarelto bellwether trial

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The first bellwether trial in the massive multidistrict litigation involving bleeding risks with the blockbuster blood thinner Xarelto is scheduled to begin April 24, and already the courtroom is heating up. Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Bayer are urging the Louisiana federal judge overseeing the trial not to accommodate the plaintiffs’ request to limit what the drug companies can testify about during the trial. Those suing Janssen and Bayer filed a motion last month asking to exclude non-relevant testimony that could prejudice their case, such as “suggestions about a verdict’s potential effect on the pharmaceutical industry, manufacturers’ incentive or ... Read More

Risperdal lawsuits increasing in PA mass tort program

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More than 3,000 new Risperdal lawsuits were filed in the first quarter of 2017, increasing the number of filings in the mass tort program to more than 5,500, according to the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas. Attorneys for plaintiffs suing the makers of Risperdal over claims that the antipsychotic drug could cause disfiguring side effects are cautioning consumers that the clock is now clicking on similar claims with the possibility of a statue of limitations now looming. Risperdal, known chemically as risperidone, is used to treat adults and children with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and irritability with autism. The drug ... Read More

Xarelto makers want to know if plaintiffs cases are funded by third parties

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Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Bayer, facing more than 1,200 cases in a mass tort over bleeding risks with their jointly produced blood thinner Xarelto, filed a motion requesting that the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas force plaintiffs to reveal whether their lawsuits are being funded by a third party. The motion specifically targets cases that may be picked for the first wave of bellwether trials. If they are being financed, then the defendants want to know by whom. The defendants also requested access to any “third-party control, consultation, or funding” agreements. Currently, both parties are working to determine which ... Read More

Opioid abuse epidemic prompts senator to investigate drug manufacturers

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Leading prescription opioid manufacturers Johnson & Johnson, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Purdue, Insys, Mylan, and Depomed, received a letter from Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill demanding documents and records dating back five years to show just how much the pharmaceutical companies knew of the drugs’ abuse risk, as well as documents involving marketing practices and sales presentations. McCaskill’s investigation is just one of several efforts made by lawmakers, state attorneys general and others aimed at quelling the growing prescription drug epidemic in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), overdose deaths involving prescription drugs have increased fourfold since ... Read More