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European health officials warn of dangers with metal hip implants

metal on metal hip parts

Regulators of European medical devices have released a fact sheet detailing the pros, cons and potential health risks for patients who choose to receive so-called metal-on-metal hip implants. The European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks compiled the fact sheet to address concerns about premature failures and injuries caused by the all-metal devices. Traditional hip replacement systems are made of ceramic or plastic parts, and can last up to 20 years or longer. But in recent years manufacturers have produced hip implants made with metal parts under the guise that all-metal hip implants would be more ... Read More

U.S. takes on whistleblower complaint against national nursing home chain


The U.S government said Tuesday it chose to intervene in a consolidated whistleblower complaint against one of the nation’s largest nursing home operators, alleging it provided treatments that were medically unnecessary and then billed Medicare for the procedures. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, HCR ManorCare, a health care system with more than 280 nursing home facilities in 30 states, routinely submitted false claims to Medicare and Tricare for rehabilitation services that patients did not need. The whistleblower lawsuit alleges that ManorCare set billing goals designed to significantly boost its profits regardless of its patients’ actual clinical need. The company ... Read More

Judge approves NFL concussion compensation package for retired athletes

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A landmark deal between the National Football League (NFL) and former players to compensation for concussion-related injuries has been approved by a federal judge, and could cost the league as much as $1 billion over 65 years, according to projections. The settlement was first announced in August 2013, but capped the compensation at $765 million over 65 years. Concerns were raised that the fund wasn’t enough to cover health care and other benefits for the retired athletes and their survivors. The NFL finally agreed to lift the cap. Total payouts over 65 years, which includes interest and$112 million in attorneys ... 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

Duodenoscope makers didn’t report or delayed reporting infections to FDA


Warning bells that could have stifled or at least tempered the spread of deadly superbugs among hospital patients due to contaminated surgical tools arrived months too late and sometimes not at all to federal officials, new documents reveal. Medical device manufacturers are required to file reports to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) within 30 days of learning that their devices may cause health injuries to patients or others. But the FDA was told months too late or not at all of outbreaks of the superbug in patients who had undergone procedures with a specialized endoscope known as a duodenoscope. ... Read More

Novartis settles lawsuit claiming osteoporosis drug caused jawbone decay


A lawsuit against the makers of the osteoporosis drug Zometa claiming the medication caused serious jawbone decay has been settled, just as a state appeals court was scheduled to rule whether to affirm or reverse the no-cause verdict won previously by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., against the plaintiff. The terms of the agreement will not be disclosed. The lawsuit, filed by plaintiff Beverly Meng, was only the second to go to trial in New Jersey. Another 119 lawsuits in New Jersey name Novartis’ Zometa or the company’s other bone loss drug Aredia claiming jawbone injury are yet to be heard. The ... Read More

Tour bus rollover victims argue vehicle should have had seatbelts

seat belt crash site

A tour bus driver whose minibus flipped on an Arizona road while traveling from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon, killing two Chinese tourists and injuring eight others in 2010, admitted during court testimony that he had been driving 5-15 mph over the speed limit posted ahead of a sharp bend. Driver Zhi Lu told jurors in Los Angeles Superior Court that he did not notice a sign reducing the speed limit from 55 mph to 35 mph on U.S. 93 / Pearce Ferry Road. Subsequently, he rounded the corner going 40-50 mph, stuck a sign designating the bend, and ... Read More

IUD side effects may outweigh benefits

mirena IUD

Women who used an intrauterine device, or IUD, were less likely to develop preeclampsia in subsequent pregnancies, but the protective effect was only found in women who had never been pregnant before getting the IUD, according to a new study. Intrauterine devices, such as the Mirena IUD, are T-shaped devices that are inserted into the cervix to prevent pregnancy. IUDs are considered highly effective but they are not 100 percent effective. The risk of becoming pregnant while implanted with an IUD are greatest during the first year, and women who become pregnant with an IUD in place are at greater risk of ... 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