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AndroGel makers try to shake testosterone side effects lawsuits

androgel-pump

AbbVie Inc., and Abbott Laboratories are trying to wiggle their way out of a massive multidistrict litigation (MDL) over side effects allegedly caused by testosterone replacement therapies by arguing to an Illinois federal judge that plaintiffs have not shown that use of testosterone supplements increases the risk of heart attacks or strokes. Days earlier, the drug companies filed a separate summary judgment arguing that plaintiffs’ claims that they marketed testosterone treatments for unapproved uses was incorrect because Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials had OK’d their marketing materials. The motions for summary judgment were filed just months before the companies ... Read More

Plaintiffs Push to Consolidate Smith & Nephew Metal-on-Metal Hip claims in MDL

metal on metal hip parts

On Feb. 1, plaintiffs filed a petition asking the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) to consider consolidating complaints against Smith & Nephew over its Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR) and R3 Acetabular System devices. As many as 31 cases are still pending in 22 federal district courts, according to the petition, and dozens more are expected to flood in. Pretrial coordination before a single judge in Maryland would facilitate resolution of the claims, the plaintiffs say. In June of 2012, Smith & Nephew recalled its R3 Acetabular System, an optional metal liner component used in hip implant devices. This includes about 7,700 metal liners that ... Read More

Noted sportscaster Craig Sager Dies of AML

Craig Sager

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a devastating disease that affects 20,000 Americans and claims the lives of 10,000 every year. Last December, it claimed the life of Craig Sager, longtime NBA and Turner Sports broadcaster. “There will never be another Craig Sager,” said Turner president David Levy. “His incredible talent, tireless work ethic and commitment to his craft took him all over the world covering sports. While he will be remembered fondly for his colorful attire and the TNT sideline interviews he conducted with NBA coaches and players, it’s the determination, grace and will to live he displayed during his ... Read More

Judge Rules Whistleblowers Can Provide SEC with Confidential Documents To Substantiate Fraud Claims

SEC Office of the Whistleblower - wikipedia image

A San Diego federal judge’s Feb. 14 ruling in a whistleblower dispute involving Bank of Internet (BofI) and a former employee who provided classified information to federal regulators about potential securities violations enhances protections for certain whistleblowers who report fraud. According to Courthouse News Service, U.S. District Judge Cynthia Bashant denied most of BofI’s motions for a summary judgement of whistleblower protections from Charles Matthew Erhart, who was formerly employed as BofI’s internal auditor. Mr. Erhart started working for San Diego-based BofI in September 2013. He reported the bank to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) upon discovering it worked ... Read More

Florida Dermatologist Settles Medicare Fraud, Kickback Complaints

Pills - Stethoscope on Money

A Florida federal judge has entered a judgement against a dermatologist and his medical practice, ordering them to pay more than $18 million for allegedly pocketing tens of millions of dollars from Medicare by ordering medically unnecessary biopsies, falsely diagnosing patients with cancer, performing unnecessary radiation treatments on patients, and illegally billing the government for those biopsies and radiation treatments. The allegations were originally made in two separate False Claims Act lawsuits filed in December 2013 and June 2014 by Dr. Theodore Schiff, a dermatologist who is the medical director and managing partner of Water’s Edge Dermatology LLC, a dermatology ... Read More

NHL tries to skirt head injury claims by denouncing CTE research

Hockey

Ice hockey is considered one of the most violent contact sports, but the National Hockey League (NHL) begged to differ when it was faced with a proposed class action lawsuit alleging that the league hid the dangers of head injuries from professional players and encouraged aggressive behavior in the games. The NHL argued against the collective knowledge of medical experts and scientists by arguing there is not a link between repeated head blows and the much-talked about degenerative brain disease CTE. Researchers have found that when a brain is concussed, proteins called tau are released in the brain. Repeated head ... Read More

Study examines Cardiovascular Risk of Vaping

e-cigarette vaping - photo by the-best-electronic-cigarette-review dot com

E-cigarettes were first introduced into the United States in 2006 and have rapidly increased in popularity, often due to vape sellers’ claims that e-cigarettes are safer than traditional cigarettes, while also delivering the craved nicotine hit. A study led by Dr. Holly R. Middlekauff of the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California in Los Angeles points out that e-cigarettes may certainly have a significantly lower number of carcinogens, but appear to be just as harmful to the heart as smoking. Nicotine addiction is as prevalent with e-cigarettes as it is with traditional cigarettes. E-cigarettes produce little or no tar, ... Read More

NC nursing home ordered to pay $5.2 million for the wrongful deaths of three patients

senior citizens

The skilled nursing care given by Blue Ridge Health Care Center and management companies Care Virginia Management LLC and Care One LLC was grossly negligent, intentional or in reckless disregard of the rights of three nursing home patients, a North Carolina federal jury determined, and ordered the companies to pay the families of the three deceased residents $5.2 million in compensatory and punitive damages. The jury found that the companies’ actions caused the deaths of Del Ray Baird, Elizabeth Jones, and Bettie May Kee. Baird’s estate was awarded $50,000, and the estates of Jones and Kee were each awarded $300,000 ... Read More

Volkswagen’s $1.22 Billion Repair and Buyback Plan Gets Preliminary Approval

VW consumer fraud

A federal judge granted preliminary approval Feb. 14 to a $1.22 billion plan for German automaker Volkswagen to repair or buy back about 80,000 3.0-liter diesel vehicles in the U.S. that are equipped with an emissions cheat that allows them to spew illegal levels of pollution. The deal follows an earlier agreement requiring Volkswagen to spend as much as $10.3 billion to fix or buy back nearly half a million 2.0-liter diesel vehicles equipped with the same emissions-cheating software that allows them to emit as much as 40 times the allowable limits of toxic air pollutants. U.S. Judge Charles Breyer ... Read More

U.S. Joins Whistleblower lawsuit Against UnitedHealthcare

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The U.S. government has joined a former UnitedHealth executive in a whistleblower lawsuit alleging the company “engaged in systematic fraud” that allowed it, subsidiary companies, and other insurers to fraudulently overcharge Medicare by “hundreds of millions — and likely billions — of dollars.” Benjamin Poehling, the former finance director for UnitedHealthcare Medicare and Retirement, a subsidiary that works with the Medicare Advantage program, filed the lawsuit in federal court in Los Angeles in 2011 under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act. The lawsuit remained under seal for years while federal officials investigated Mr. Poehling’s claims. It became public ... Read More