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Fifth Worker Dies After Power Plant Explosion

TECO power plant explosion - image courtesy ABC Action News

Last Thursday, a fifth worker died of injuries sustained during the June 29th accident at the Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach, Florida. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Armando Perez, 56, died of his injuries after being coated in molten slag, the abrasive waste after the smelting of ore. Slag can reach temperatures of 1,000 degrees or more. Perez was a BRACE Industrial Group worker at the Tampa Electric (TECO) power plant, one of the largest power plants in Florida, who was contracted to assist with maintenance and cleaning of a slag tank. Five other workers were injured in ... Read More

Lawsuit over Merck’s shingles vaccine

syringe, vials, pills, injectable

A group of consumers across the country claim they have suffered a persistent strain of shingles after receiving Merck & Co.’s shingles vaccine Zostavax, and have launched a product liability action against the drug maker in New Jersey state court for not adequately warning about the risks associated with the vaccine, Law360 reported. Some consumers claim to have developed a condition called postherpetic neuralgia, resulting in nerve damage and pain. One victim says her symptoms were accompanied by scarring. The lawsuit was filed July 11 in Middlesex County Superior Court by 18 plaintiffs from Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, ... Read More

Diet pill pusher gets 18 months in prison

bathroom scale, diet, weight

A Fort Myers, Florida, dietary supplement marketer received an 18-month prison sentence in federal court after pleading guilty for selling diet pills and supplements to boost attention deficit containing an illegal and potentially dangerous ingredient. The distributor Derek Vest also forfeited $2.5 million to federal officials he reportedly made selling Phen Tabz, Add Tabz and Phen Tabz Teen from April 2013 to November 2014. He also testified in other investigations as part of his plea deal. The adulterated dietary supplements were made by Fort Myers-based Gentech Pharmaceuticals. Laboratory testing conducted on Phen Tabz, Add Tabz and Phen Tabz Teen detected hidden ... Read More

Drug-free non-invasive treatment for erectile dysfunction

Viagra single pack

Erectile dysfunction is something few men want to talk about but in the U.S. alone ED affects approximately 30 million men, and worldwide the number rises to more than 100 million. According to Drugs.com, a large U.S. survey determined about 50 percent of men 40 to 70 years of age experience some degree of ED. The most well known and popular treatment options for erectile dysfunction are PDE5 inhibiting drugs such as Viagra and Cialis. These drugs have recently come under scrutiny as researchers have been linking them to increased risk of melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. ... Read More

Ethicon blames Physiomesh failures on many factors

physiomesh

The high failure rates associated with Ethicon’s Physiomesh hernia repair mesh is due to a “multifactorial issue,” the company admits. The Florida Record reported that in a lawsuit filed late last year, Ethicon began admitting that there were problems with its hernia mesh product. Ethicon is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. The lawsuit was filed by Joanne Quinn, who was implanted with Ethicon’s hernia mesh product in 2014 for treatment of an abdominal hernia. She reports the pain worsened after the surgery and says she began experiencing diminished bowl motility and painful bowel obstruction. A year after being implanted with Physiomesh, Quinn underwent another ... Read More

Georgia farmer blames Monsanto Roundup for cancer

Roundup - Sarah Mahan photo

A Georgia farmer who used Monsanto’s weed killer Roundup for years to clear some land for farming is suing the agrochemical giant, claiming years of exposure to the chemical caused his cancer. Ricky McCombs told Jacksonville, Florida’s News4 that he and his wife Lucy bought a nine-acre farm near Nahunta in the southeastern corner of the state in 1993. The land was overgrown with scrub oaks, thorns, and weeds, so they began spraying the brush with Roundup, whose active ingredient glyphosate targets unwanted weeds. After two years of spraying, the McCombs planted their first crops. “We were planting corn and ... Read More

‘Largest-Ever’ Health care Fraud Sweep Results in 400-Plus Arrests

opioid, oxycodone - Shutterstock

A massive federal crackdown on health care fraud has resulted in charges against more than 400 people nationwide, and prosecutors allege their false billings to the government have cost taxpayers about $1.3 billion. U.S. officials said Thursday the takedown was the “largest ever health care fraud enforcement action” by the Medicare Strike Force. It involved more than a thousand law enforcement agents arresting 412 individuals in 30 states. About a quarter of those currently facing health care fraud charges from the action are doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals. While the health care fraud sweep could return some funds to ... Read More

Takata Airbag Blamed For Death of Individual Repairing a Honda

Honda Takata airbags

Another death has been blamed on an exploding Takata airbag, and the victim in this case wasn’t even a driver or a passenger but someone who was performing repairs on an idling 2001 Honda Accord. On July 10, Honda said it notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of a fatal incident that occurred in Hialeah, Florida, on June 8, 2016, involving a ruptured Takata airbag. An individual, who was not the car owner, was performing unknown repairs on the Accord with the ignition turned on. The car was parked in the driveway of a private home and the ... Read More

Medicare Advantage whistleblower suit recovers $32.5M

Pills - Stethoscope on Money

Medicare Advantage plan providers Freedom Health, Optimum Healthcare, and their affiliates agreed to pay the U.S. government and State of Florida a combined $32.5 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit that alleged the companies exaggerated patient diagnosis codes and overstated the resources it had available to patients. The whistleblower lawsuit was filed in federal court in Tampa in 2009 by Dr. Darren Sewell, who worked for Freedom and Optimum for five years, most recently as a vice president. Dr. Sewell alleged that the companies violated the False Claims Act by submitting false information to Medicare about their members’ medical conditions ... Read More

Takata Recalls 2.7 Million Additional Airbags in U.S.

Takata airbag - image source alexauto321, wikicommons

Federal auto regulators ordered auto supplier Takata on Wednesday to recall an additional 2.7 million airbags over fears the inflators in them could potentially rupture with deadly force. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) latest order applies to Takata airbags in vehicles made by Ford, Mazda, and Nissan.The recalled vehicles are equipped with PSDI-5 driver frontal air bag inflators that use calcium sulfate as a desiccant. The airbags may rupture due to propellant degradation occurring after long-term exposure to moderate absolute humidity, temperatures, and temperature cycling. According to NHTSA, the moisture-absorbing abilities of the airbag inflators containing this desiccant ... Read More