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Vehicles With Soy-Based Wiring May Attract Hungry Rodents

As the weather turns cooler, some car owners are finding that their Honda and Toyota vehicles have become a bed and breakfast for mice and other rodents, thanks to the use of soy-based wiring. Rodent damage in the electrical systems of Honda and Toyota vehicles containing soy-based wiring – wires with an environmentally friendly soy-based outer coating, that is – is not a new problem, but it is a persistent one. Some owners of vehicles with the specially coated wiring say it attracts rodents to nest in their vehicles and feed on the soy wiring. Lisa Barrett told Raleigh-Durham’s WRAL ... Read More

Auxilium escapes verdict in testosterone side effects trial

Auxilium Pharmaceuticals Inc., maker of the testosterone replacement therapy Testim, escaped a verdict in the first bellwether trial blaming Testim for a man’s heart attack. This marks the first victory in multidistrict litigation (MDL) over testosterone side effects that names several testosterone manufacturers. The first two bellwether trials were against AbbVie Inc., makers of AndroGel, and resulted in combined $290 million in verdicts. The seven-day trial focused on the case of Steve Holtsclaw, who claimed he was prescribed Testim after complaining to his doctor about chronic fatigue. Months after treatment, Holtsclaw suffered a heart attack. He since learned that studies ... Read More

Whistleblowers Help U.S Recover $75 Million From Hospice Chain

Three whistleblower lawsuits have led to a recovery of $75 million from Vitas Hospice Services LLC, the nation’s largest for-profit hospice chain, and its parent company Chemed Corporation of Cincinnati, Ohio. An agreement announced by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on Oct. 30 resolves three lawsuits filed under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, which allows private parties to sue on behalf of the U.S. in cases of suspected fraud targeting federal agencies and programs. The whistleblower lawsuits alleged that Vitas and Chemed knowingly submitted claims to Medicare and caused the submission of claims to Medicare for hospice ... Read More

Testim benefits not worth the heart attack, patient says

Steve Holtsclaw’s heart attack in 2014 weighs on his mind daily. He’s more emotional now, and constantly wonders, “How much longer have I got?” the 62-year-old man told an Illinois federal jury during the first bellwether trial in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) involving cardiovascular risks with Auxilium Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s testosterone replacement therapy Testim. Holtsclaw was prescribed Testim in 2013 after complaining to his doctor about chronic fatigue. A blood test showed his testosterone levels were low. Months later, Holtsclaw suffered a heart attack. He received two stents and was put on several medications to help prevent a second heart attack. ... Read More

Kentucky sues maker of opioid Opana ER

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear is suing Endo Pharmaceuticals alleging the company used fraudulent and deceptive marketing of its opioid painkiller Opana ER, a medication so prone to abuse that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) pressured the company to pull it off the market. “Endo put its profits above the lives of our people and above patient safety,” Beshear said. The lawsuit states that only two percent of overdose deaths in 2010 were due to oxymorphone, the active drug ingredient in Opana ER. But the following year, that number soared to 23 percent. Beshear said that the deaths were ... Read More

Wells Fargo Pays Additional $5.4 Million For Illegally Repossessing Servicemembers’ Vehicles

Servicemembers who had their vehicles unlawfully repossessed by Wells Fargo Bank now have access to an additional $5.4 million in relief, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced. The funds come as part of a 2016 settlement that resolved a lawsuit filed by the Justice Department against Wells Fargo, alleging the bank violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). The initial settlement provided about $4.7 million to about 410 servicemembers. The additional compensation provides an additional $5.4 million to be paid to about 450 servicemembers. The U.S. sued Wells Fargo, doing business as Wells Fargo Dealer Services, in Sept. 2016, accusing the ... Read More

Whistleblower Suit Exposes Missouri Neurosurgeon’s Kickback Scheme

A lawsuit filed under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act against a Missouri neurosurgeon and his fiancée has resulted in a recovery for the Medicare program. The lawsuit, brought by a group of physicians and other health care providers in 2014, accused Dr. Sonjay Fonn of Cape Girardeau and his fiancée Deborah Seeger of operating a mutually beneficial kickback scheme that resulted in the submission of false claims to Medicare. According to the whistleblower suit, the kickback scheme was hatched in 2008 when Ms. Seeger started a spinal implant distributorship, DS Medical, that supplied most of the spinal ... Read More

Fewer IVC filters implanted since FDA warning

The rate of inferior vena cava (IVC) filter placement has declined nationally since reaching a peak in 2010, a trend experts say was triggered by a 2010 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warning regarding serious risks associated with long-term use of the blood clot-catching devices. An IVC filter is a tiny, cage-like device that is implanted into the inferior vena cava – the large vein that carries deoxygenated blood from the lower body to the heart – to prevent blood clots from reaching the lungs, a condition called pulmonary embolism. The FDA warning stated that long-term risks associated with IVC ... Read More

Judge orders deposition of Xarelto sales rep

A sales representatives for Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, were ordered to undergo a midtrial deposition by a Pennsylvania state judge to determine whether she tried to sway a doctor’s testimony in an upcoming trial alleging Janssen’s blood thinner Xarelto caused a man’s internal bleeding. Attorneys for plaintiff Lynn Hartman asked the judge for the deposition after they became suspicious over the timing of the drug rep’s visit to the doctor before his deposition in April, and the fact that Janssen failed to disclose the contact until just weeks before the trial was to begin on ... Read More

Whistleblower Allegations Lead To Prison Sentence, Fines For Medical Equipment Vendor

The owner of an Iowa medical supply store has been sentenced to more than three years in prison for submitting falsified documents to federal authorities investigating fraud allegations raised by a whistleblower in a False Claims Act lawsuit. According to The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette, James O’Connor, 64, was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $350,000 in restitution to the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Mr. O’Connor owned and operated O’Connor Medical Supply Inc., a durable medical equipment vendor in the Des Moines, Iowa area. A whistleblower filed a False Claims Act suit against Mr. O’Connor and ... Read More