Articles Posted in Products Liability

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Johnson & Johnson and other baby powder manufacturers are being sued under California’s strict Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, Health and Safety Code §25249.6. The suit alleges that J&J, along with such other suppliers and distributors of talcum powder as Gold Bond and Shower to Shower and private label brands from CVS, Dollar General, Target (a Dayton Hudson company), Walgreens and Walmart–were hiding that their talc products contained dangerous and potential deadly toxins that caused cancer, reproductive issue and birth defects.

The main thrust of the lawsuit is that a the above sellers and distributors of the baby powder, talcum powder, bath powder, etc. had a duty to provide consumers with a “clear and reasonable warning” before potentially exposing buyers of the products to the chemicals in the product. The suit alleges that the products contain arsenic, chromium, and lead, which are all toxins that are listed in CA’s Proposition 65 as chemicals that cause cancer and reproductive issues. Further, the suit alleges that the target defendants have tried to hide the presence of these chemicals in their products since at least 1976.

In other words, according to the suit, for decades, baby powder and other talcum powder products were sold and marketed as being pure and wholesome (who can forget the ever-present commercial for J&J’s baby powder and Shower to Shower talcum powders during the 1970’s), while they contained and exposed consumers to known asbestos and other carcinogens that potentially cause cancer and other diseases.

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The state of Georgia will receive $3.4 million in settlement of tranvaginal mesh litigation that is also the subject in 40 other states. Neither  Johnson & Johnson nor its subsidiary Ethican who was also involved in the settlement, have admitted fault.

This mesh, once hailed as a breakthrough in abdominal, vaginal and other types of organ surgery has proved to be a costly mistake for the manufacturers due to its tendency to lead to infection or breakdown within the body. The Food and Drug Administration eventually reclassified the mesh as a high-risk device. This year the FDA ordered companies to stop selling the product for prolapse patients, but some doctors still use the product “off label” which can lead to the problems that have been experienced in the past. Off label use is not illegal, but it is highly risky because, as in this case, it can fly in the face of clear FDA mandates to not use a product due to known risks and complications.

In addition to paying the money, the companies must take certain actions: They can’t say that implantation “may” prompt flesh to react to the mesh as a foreign body. They have to say it “will” cause a foreign body reaction, and that the effects may vary and may be ongoing. They have to detail the risks, including permanent dysfunction going to the bathroom or pain with intercourse or loss of sexual function. They have to explain that surgery to fix the mesh failure has its own risks and may not solve the problem. In most cases, if proper informed consent is given to the patients, they would choose not to have this material placed in their body. While informed consent is not a claim that is usually successful under current Georgia law in medical malpractice cases, it does apply to a products liability case such as this one, since a patient must be properly informed as to the risks associated with putting a mesh in their body, especially one that has had specific complications in the past the the FDA has grown concerned enough about to change the product labeling and warning. In my opinion, there would have to be some pretty compelling circumstances that can’t be addressed in other ways without using the vaginal mesh to warrant to the use of the mesh with the risks discussed above.

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There Is Often A Long Lag Between Exposure and Disease

Many of the  asbestos-related conditions can take years to manifest and many workers who were exposed long ago are just now being diagnosed with asbestos-related injuries and diseases such as cancers and difficulty breathing due to asbestos exposure (asbestosis). These diseases are generally caused by asbestos fibers that were inhaled or ingested in the work place. However, the longest latency period of any asbestos-related condition is that of mesothelioma.

If you have worked with or around asbestos containing products in the past and have trouble breathing or have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related condition, call us today on (800) 613-1923.

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Lung Cancer

After mesothelioma, the second most common type of cancer caused by asbestos exposure is lung cancer,  which can be caused by asbestos fibers being inhaled and the lodging deep in the lungs.  Asbestos can cause both small-cell lung cancer and non-small-cell lung cancer. Non-small-cell lung cancer accounts for the majority of cases and includes carcinomas such as squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and large-cell carcinoma. The asbestos fibers are microscopic, which causes them to be inhaled deep into the lungs and the lungs are not able to release them. This foreign body (the asbestos fiber deep in the lung) then causes the lung to form tumors in order to protect the lung from the asbestos. Signs and symptoms of lung cancer are similar to mesothelioma and include most commonly breathing problems. Other signs and symptom of lung cancer are shortness of breath, a cough that will not go away, coughing up phlegm, mucous or even blood, hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, chest pains, swelling in the neck, throat or face, severe weight loss, and unexplained fatigue. Most lung cancer patients are treated with surgery, coupled with chemotherapy, and radiation. A number of clinical trials have been formed in addition to these treatments on a case-by case basis and may offer hope in the form of cutting edge life saving therapy.

If you have been diagnosed with lung cancer or another asbestos related condition, call (800) 613-1923 for a free and confidential case evaluation.

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Back in January of 2000, the manufacturer St. Jude voluntarily recalled its Silzone mechanical heart valves. St. Jude did not think it necessary for patients to undergo surgery to replace the valves. There were 36,000 Silzone valves implanted through out the world, with hundreds implanted into patients in the Atlanta Metropolitan area.

Mechanically, the St. Jude valves were seemingly all right. Therefore, the problem was not with the functioning ability of the valve but the problem was with the coating on areas of the valve. Silver was used in the making of the Silzone so to lessen the chance of infection. However, the silver reportedly leaked, which could have caused heart failure.

Additionally, in a trial called the Artificial Valve Endocarditis Reduction Trial (AVERT) an increased risk of stroke was reported. Though the chance of stroke is relatively low, the study did find a higher incidence of paravalvular leakage in patients with the valve implant.

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The FDA has announced that safety changes are going to be made on the labels of some of the most popular cholesterol drugs known as statins. The changes are primarily intended to warn patients of the increased risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus. Hyperglycemia, an increase in blood sugar levels, has been reported with the use of statins.

It is also necessary for this class of cholesterol lowering drugs to carry warnings concerning the possibility for short-term memory and cognitive problems. Certain brain-related problems has been linked to statin use. Therefore, statin labels will now have information about patients having episodes of confusion and memory loss.

These changes that will effect Atlanta residents include: Lipitor (atorvastatin), Lescol (fluvastatin), Mevacor (lovastatin), Altoprev (lovastatin extended-release), Livalo (pitavastatin), Pravachol (pravastatin), Crestor (rosuvastatin), and Zocor (simvastatin). And combination drugs include: Avicor (lovastatin/niacin extended release), Simcor (simvastatin/niacin extended release), and Vytorin (simvastatin/ezetimibe).

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A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of consumers claiming that deceptive advertising influenced their decision to by “Shape-Ups” by Sketchers. The lawsuit is seeking monetary damages for consumers who paid a “premium price” for Sketchers “Shape-Ups” based on ads on television, the Internet, and print. The ads, which had appeared in the Atlanta area, publicized the health benefits of the shoes.

However, the lawsuit contends that the shoes do not have any additional health benefits. But they cause a serious risk of injury because of their distinct bottom sole, the complaint added. The lawsuit also seeks to prevent Sketchers from continuing its “deceptive and unlawful advertising”.

Federal Trade Commission is also investigating Sketchers’ toning shoes. In September, Reebok and the FTC came to a $25 million settlement for making similar claims about its own type of toning shoes. It is estimated that Sketchers could be fined as much as $75 million. The lawsuit claims that Sketchers advertised that “Shape-Ups” offers benefits “without setting foot in a gym”.

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For many residence of the Atlanta metropolitan area who are experiencing shoulder pain, pain pumps can offer a feeling of comfort. However, the apparatus can also cause serious and permanent injury. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, the use of pain pumps might be linked to Postarthroscopic glenohumeral chondrolysis (PAGCL).

In the Auburn Citizen, Dr. Dale Buchberger, noted how amazing the shoulder is due large impart to its complexity. According to Dr. Buchberger, the shoulder needs to be stiff enough to stay together and loose enough to work correctly. And he also noted that this equilibrium poses trouble not only for people who are involved in “shoulder dominant” sports, but also the public as a whole.

Various injuries can intensify the usual pain an older person may experience. For example, a dislocation can occur when someone falls while his/her arm is extended. Dislocation means that the ball has come out of its socket. This kind of injury creates a larger risk to the elderly population as the bone or cartilage can fracture or tear.

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More lawsuits have been filed against Fosamax despite Merck, the pharmaceutical company that manufactures Fosamax, having won several victories in previous lawsuits. Earlier lawsuits and the current ones all allege side effects such as dead jaw and femur fractures.

The latest lawsuit has been filed on behalf of women who claim that Merck overstated the advantages of taking Fosamax. Both women began taking Fosamax believing that it would strengthen their bones and prevent bone fractures, however, they claim that Fosamax increased their chance of injury by causing their bones to deteriorate.

At present, the courts are hearing Fosamax bellwether trials. So far, five trials have concluded with Fosamax winning four and plaintiffs winning one. $8 million was awarded to the plaintiff who won but another judge who considered the award too much later reduced it.

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The New Journal of Medicine has learned that children whose mother’s took Depakote before birth had notably lower I.Q. scores than children whose mother’s took other types of anti-seizure medication during pregnancy. New York Times also reported that three year old children who were exposed to valproate, the generic form of Depakote, while in the womb had I.Q. scores that were nine points lesser than three year olds who were exposed to lamotrigine.

For most infants, I.Q. scores were related to their mothers’ I.Q. scores but not when it came to the children who were exposed to vaproate. Thus the researchers concluded, “In utero exposure to valproate was associated with poorer congnitive outcomes than was exposure to other commonly used antiepileptic drugs.” What’s more, the result of valproate on the children’s I.Q. depended on the amount taken. These findings are similar to the findings of researchers in the United Kingdom.

Researchers have also found that Depakote use has shown an increase in congenital malformations in comparison with other antiepileptic medications. Another study found that the use of valproic acid by pregnant women in their first trimesters is linked with spina bifida. Other birth defects associated with valproic acid were atrial spetal, cleft palate, and craniosynostosis.

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