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FDA warns consumers to avoid potentially dangerous muscle-building supplements

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers to avoid muscle-building supplements made by Extreme Products Group after three people who used the company’s Tri-Methyl Xtreme supplements suffered injuries. Agency investigators say that some of the dietary supplements may contain anabolic steroids that can cause liver damage. Extreme Products Group, based in Las Vegas, distributes capsules as a muscle-building supplement, and claims that they contain anabolic steroids. The supplements are sold online and by some retailers. The FDA warns consumers who have taken Tri-Methyl Xtreme to be aware of unusual side effects including unexplained fatigue, abdominal or back pain, or ... Read More

Doctor’s $100-million whistleblower lawsuit accuses Indiana health network of fraud


An Indiana doctor who filed a whistleblower lawsuit on behalf of the federal government accuses Indiana’s largest hospital system and its largest midwifery network of defrauding taxpayers of $100 million by submitting false claims to Medcaid. Dr. Judith Robinson, former director of women’s services at HealthNet and medical director of ob-gyn services at Indiana University (IU) Health Methodist Hospital, alleges in her lawsuit that the care providers booted high-risk, low-income pregnant women on Medicaid to the care of less-expensive midwives, then billed the government for those services at higher rates, as though doctors performed them. IU Health operates more than ... Read More

Personal injury lawsuits target testosterone makers


A conference to review the progress of discovery efforts in a group of more than 1,340 lawsuits against manufacturers of testosterone treatments is scheduled for April 21, and the first case is expected to go trial in the fall of 2016. The lawsuits were consolidated in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Illinois and target seven testosterone makers claiming the drugs caused heart attacks, strokes and other health problems. Testosterone treatments are prescription hormones that are designed to treat hypogonadism, a condition in which men do not produce enough testosterone due to injury or disease. Pharmaceutical companies have ... Read More

Family files wrongful death lawsuit against Botox maker

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The parents of a girl with cerebral palsy who died after undergoing a series of off-label Botox injections have filed a lawsuit against Allergan, Inc., makers of the drug, claiming the injections caused her death. Botox, or botulinum toxin type A, is a therapeutic muscle-relaxing agent that reduces rigidity of muscles or unwanted spasms in a specific muscle. It is used in cosmetic procedures to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and in recent years has been used to treat muscle spasticity in children with cerebral palsy. Melinda Ann “Mandy” Fortuna of Shelburne, Vt., received a series of Botox injections from ... Read More

Woman’s lawsuit claims talcum powder caused her ovarian cancer

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An Illinois woman has filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson claiming the company’s talcum powder caused her to develop ovarian cancer. Candace Lewis says she used Johnson & Johnson’s Shower to Shower powder in her genital area for personal hygiene from 1981 to 2014. On June 23, 2013, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Since her diagnosis, Lewis learned that about 22 studies dating back to 1971 have linked talcum powder usage on the genitals to an increased risk of ovarian cancer. At least one researcher found a 92 percent rise in ovarian cancer risk in women who used ... Read More

GM shielded from ignition-switch lawsuits, bankruptcy judge rules

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General Motors (GM) won’t have to face lawsuits over its fatal ignition switch defect in vehicles manufactured by the “Old GM,” federal bankruptcy court Judge Robert Gerber ruled Wednesday, upholding a shield imposed in 2009 that allows the “New GM” to escape the liabilities of the pre-bankruptcy company. The ruling means that anyone injured or killed as a result of an ignition switch malfunction in vehicles made prior to GM’s bankruptcy filing on June 1, 2009 won’t have legal recourse against the company because technically their complaints are with the “Old GM,” which legally no longer exists. The decision also ... Read More

Orlando construction firm settles whistleblower allegations with U.S.


ORLANDO, Fla. – Air Ideal Inc., a general construction and HVAC firm, and its majority owner have agreed to pay the U.S. $250,000 to and five percent revenues for the next five years to resolve a whistleblower’s False Claims Act allegations that the company made false statements to the Small Business Administration (SBA) in order to obtain certification as a “Historically Underutilized Business Zone” (HUBZone) company. The whistleblower complaint alleged that Air Ideal and its principal owner Kim Amkraut applied to the HUBZone program in 2010, claiming the company’s main office was located in a zone that qualified for the ... Read More

Whistleblower lawsuits help U.S. recover nearly $50 million from medical testing labs


Three separate whistleblower lawsuits against a series of diagnostic laboratories and their administrators have been settled, leading to a recovery of nearly $50 million for federal health care programs, the U.S. Justice Department announced. Richmond, Va.-based Health Diagnostics Laboratory Inc. has agreed to pay $47 million to settle the whistleblower complaint, which alleged the company effectively paid physicians for patient referrals and billed Medicare and other federal health care programs for medically unnecessary testing. Singulex, Inc., a medical diagnostic technology company based in Alameda, Calif., agreed to pay the U.S. $1.5 million to resolve similar allegations. The U.S. government also ... Read More

Fresenius battles in court over fraudulent billing practices

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Dialysis products and services giant Fresenius Medical Care asked a Georgia federal judge to dismiss a False Claims Act (FCA) lawsuit claiming the company fraudulently billed Medicare for excess drugs, arguing that a whistleblower’s allegations were aired in several public documents years before his lawsuit was filed. The documents in question involved three unsealed FCA complaints, an inspector general’s report, a subpoena from the U.S. Department of Justice, and filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which described the company’s practice of using “overfill” from vials of the anemia drug Epogen and hyperparathyroidism drug Zemplar. Fresenius also challenged the whistleblower, saying ... Read More

Medical billing manager gets $1.4 million in whistleblower retaliation case


A federal jury in Tacoma, Wash., has ordered a Washington State hospital chain to pay a former billing manager nearly $1.4 million, finding the plaintiff in the whistleblower retailiation case was fired for reporting Medicare billing irregularities. Lori Cook, a billing supervisor with nearly four decades of experience at other hospitals, took a job in 2011 as billing manager for Harrison Home Care, a division of Harrison Medical Center and Franciscan Health, where she inherited a large backlog of Medicare billing. She was working to resolve the billing issue when she discovered “irregularities in Harrison’s billing which could have Medicare ... Read More