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Articles Posted in Products Safety

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I want to continue to use my blog to warn Georgia consumers of dangerous medications when it becomes apparent that a particular drug either is more dangerous than it is helpful, or that the side effects of a drug are so severe that it calls into question using the drug in the first place. Such may be the case with the drugs Cipro and Levaquin, both common antibiotics. If you are taking Cipro or Levaquin, this warrants discussion with your physician who is prescribing it.

Apparently, despite the risk, these drugs remain popular in the medical community to prescribe for infections. Many patients are not even aware of the risks associated with them, and many doctors are not telling their patients of the risks. It shouldn’t be this way. Physicians should be telling their patients when they prescribe a drug all known possible side effects and give their patients as much information as possible when prescribing any drug.

FDA Warning: Cipro May Rupture Tendons

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Did you know there is compelling evidence that links inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) to the use of Accutane, an acne drug? If you or a loved one has ever taken Accutane, you need to be aware of this causal link, especially if you begin to show signs of IBD.

A jury in New Jersey recently handed down verdicts of $13 Million in three cases in which the plaintiffs allege the use of Accutane for acne caused IBD againt the drug manufacturer, Hoffman-La Roche. Plaintiffs argued the drug company should have placed stronger warnings on the label of the drug warning users that use of Accutance can cause IBD. The three plaintiffs in the New Jersey case all took Accutance in their teens for acne. Soon thereafter, they developed IBD, causing one to have to undergo surgery to remove his colon. They all face a greater risk now of colon cancer.

Do these side effects sound worth the risk to clear up some acne? No, of course not. And had the plaintiffs known about them they never would have used the drug. The drug manufacturer, though, knew about this side effect and failed to warn appropriately about it. Hoffman-La Roche still claims there is no causal connection between Accutane and IBD, regardless of the jury’s opinion. Not shocking…a drug manufacturer failing to accept responsibility for what it has done. It also faces a host of other upcoming civil jury trials on this drug.

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It might not be readily apparent how a case being argued in the United States Supreme Court regarding the Federal Preemption Doctrine has a tremendous effect on the rights of Georgia citizens, but it does. The United State Supreme Court is hearing arguments today in Levine v. Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and the high Court’s decision has far-reaching implication, even to the point of potentially limiting every Georgian’s right to recover against a drug manufacturer for negligent manufacture and distribution of all kinds of drugs we Georgians have come to believe are safe and therapeutic.

Not so fast I say. The first realization every Georgia citizen must come to is that simply because a drug has been approved by the Federal Drug Administration (the FDA) does NOT mean it’s safe nor does it mean it has been fully and accurately tested. One of the problems is that the FDA is way too close to drug manufacturers, which has resulted in lack of complete arms length transactions. For example, from 1992-2002, the drug companies paid $825 million dollars to the FDA In the Wyeth case, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a drug manufacturer who made a drug called phenergan, which is used to combat nausea. On its label is a small warning that says if the drug was improperly injected it could lead to the onset of gangrene and the necessary amputation of a limb. Now you probably know where this is headed, right? Diana Levine, a professional guitarist, had the drug injected in her IV in her arm, which caused gangrene, which ultimately led to the amputation of her arm. Ms. Levine sued drugmaker Wyeth, claiming that the company had given insufficient warning of the possible severe effects of its product. A Vermont jury awarded her $6.7 million in compensatory and punitive damages.

Ms. Levine says the FDA is protecting the drug companies from lawsuits, rather than protecting consumers from dangerous drugs. “I had no idea what the risks were,” she says of her ordeal with the Wyeth-produced antinausea drug.

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I want to alert all Georgia parents of infants who may own a Simplicity bassinet. Do not use it any more. These bassinets have been recalled because they may lead to strangulation death of the infant. It has come to light, however, that the distributor of these deadly bassinets, SFCA, Inc., ignored the recall and did not notify bassinet owners of the danger. The Illinois Attorney General has filed suit against SFCA, Inc. for ignoring the recall and subjecting more families to a needless risk of death by using these bassinets. The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) is considering changing its rules covering crib defects. Congratulations to Attorney General Madigan for showing the courage to go after these manufacturers for putting our children at risk.

I would like to see the Georgia Attorney General, Hon. Therbert Baker, do the same thing and file suit against SFCA, Inc. Until then, check the manufacturer of any bassinet you may have in your house and if it is manufactured by SFCA, Inc., do not continue to use it and return it to SFCA, Inc. Also, you might want to alert the CPSC. Keep your babies safe!

I want to pass this very important information to Georgia consumers, particularly parents and grandparents of infants, about a new crib recall. Federal regulators have ordered the recall of nearly 1.6 million cribs following the deaths of two infants. The Consumer Product Safety Commission and crib manufacturer Delta Enterprises announced the recall Monday citing problems with a mechanism known as a ‘spring peg’ as the defect which posed a risk to children. The recall, believed to be one of the largest in history, covers cribs and produced in China, Indonesia and Taiwan between 1995 and 2005.

Please check your crib NOW to see if it was manufactured by this crib maker, Delta Enterprises. If so,take it out of use immediately! Although the name “Delta Enterprises” makes it sound as if it is a U.S. manufacturer, the reality is these cribs were manufactured in China and other countries that simply do not have the same regulations and quality control as U.S. manufacturers. If you have experienced a problem with one of these cribs, please report it to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) right now! Here is a link to reach the CPSC. http://www.cpsc.gov/

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The editors of a leading medical journal, the New England Journal of Medicine, cautioned Tuesday that, without more data, it’s impossible to rule out a link between the cholesterol-lowering drug Vytorin and cancer. The cancer link surfaced unexpectedly in July in three studies designed to show whether the drug prevents deaths from heart attacks and strokes. Researchers found evidence that patients who took Vytorin appear to have at least a 40% greater risk of dying from cancer than those who took a placebo. The same problem may exist with another drug, Zetia. The warning is clear not simply to brush this aside. At the very least, if you are one of the thousands of Vytorin takers in American or in Georgia, discuss this study with your prescribing physician. There may be other, better, less risky drugs you can take.

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Plaintiffs personal injury lawyers across the nation are resisting the urge to say “I told you so” after the recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) confirms what we have been saying all along: if SUV manufacturers would simply make the roofs of SUV’s stronger, it would save lives. The study concludes that more than 200 deaths could have been prevented in rollovers in 2006 if just a few more SUVs had roofs as strong as the best one it tested, and, of course, it follows that thousands of serious personal injuries, likewise, could have been prevented.
The IIHS study is extremely important because it proves what plaintiffs’ lawyers have been saying all along; that inadequate roof strength can be the cause of death of an occupant in an SUV during a rollover. That an SUV will, in fact, experience a rollover is a given, and manufacturers are supposed to design and plan for that occurrence. The study is also important because it exposes the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for what it is, a co-conspirator with automobile manufacturers to require only the most minimal of “standards,” (if they can even be called that) so that automobile manufacturers can continue to make hundred of millions of dollars on the backs of American citizens without reasonable attention to safety. Automobile manufacturers for years have defended against such cases by claiming to have complied with the NHTSA “standards,” but this study shows such compliance is mere window dressing, and really meaningless when it comes to actual occupant safety. Much research has been done that shows for less than $100.00 per car a manufacturer could double the strength of the roof regarding strength to weight ratio. It is unfortunate that American car companies care more about their bottom line than their customers’ safety.

courthousedome.jpgJustice is Served…for the third time, no less. The Supreme Court of Oregon has reaffirmed a $79.5M jury verdict in a tobacco products safety case against Philip Morris. The award was for the family of Jesse Williams, a former Portland janitor who started smoking during a 1950s Army hitch and died in 1997 six months after he was diagnosed with lung cancer. A jury in Portland made the award in 1999.

The Oregon Supreme Court said in Thursday’s ruling that Philip Morris and the tobacco industry worked during the 1950s on a “program of disinformation” to create doubt about the dangers of smoking. Williams “learned from watching television that smoking did not cause lung cancer,” but, once he came down with it, said the “cigarette people” had lied to him.

What’s particularly satisfying about the Oregon Supreme Court’s decision is that it reaffirms, for the third time, that the jury in the American Civil Justice System knows best. Despite the repeated attempts by the United States Supreme Court to take away the plaintiff’s verdict in this case, the Oregon jury’s decision has finally prevailed, proving again the jury knows best and the jury system works. It seems that only when Big Corporate America loses a trial does it rail against what they term “activist”judges. What is surprising is, if there is any “activist” judges in this case, it is the United States Supreme Court justices. They tried and tried to take away the jury’s verdict and impose their own judgment on a trial that involved Oregon citizens and was decided by Oregon citizens. But, fortunately, the Justices’ attempts have failed and, hopefully, the jury’s verdict will now stand in this case.

Warning to all Georgia parents: another child seat has been recalled. This time it is the Bumbo baby seat, made by Bumbo International, a Texas company. bumbo%20seat.jpg

You can find out more at bumbosafety.com, but after looking at that site, it seems the corporation, like many in its shoes, is attempting to blame the parents for the lack of safety of the very product it manufactured. So many corporations, when they are caught red-handed manufacturing a dangerous product, point a finger at their own customers, rather than accepting responsibility for placing a defective, dangerous product on the market. This is the face of the fact that the Consumer Product Safety Commission says it has received 28 reports of children falling out of the seats, which prompted the recall.

Georgia parents can retrieve newly written instructions for use of the seat at bumbosafety.com. When you read them, it will probably make you mad that the corporation is blaming you, the parent. If you have such a seat at home, you might reconsider using it any further based upon the CPSC recall. Perhaps a better source for learning more about this product recall and others, is cpsc.gove, the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s own website. I think it is a good idea to check that site periodically for safety information on all sorts of products.

standnseal.gif I want to issue a warning to Do-It-Yourselfers out there, who enjoy a Saturday trip to Home Depot here in Atlanta, Georgia to find the materials they need to fix up something at the their houses and take pride in having done the job themselves. Do not purchase or use Stand ‘n Seal, a sealant used to seal grout around tile. It has been proven to cause lung damage with just one use. At least 80 serious injuries, including 2 fatalities, have been linked to this dangerous product.

A tiny Georgia company, Innovative Chemical Technologies, made a chemical called Flexipel S-22WS, a dangerous ingredient in the sealant. There is evidence of a cover-up in that the manufacturer of Stand ‘n Seal knew well in advance of marketing and selling the spray that the chemical in it could cause lung damage to innocent users. In another example of Corporate America putting profits over people, after becoming aware of numerous complaints about the product, Richard F. Tripodi, the manufacturer’s chief executive, asked a staff member fielding calls at a 24-hour emergency number not to tell customers reporting illnesses that others had called with similar complaints, documents show. Truly reprehensible conduct.

Although the Consumer Product Safety Commission finally issued an official recall of the hazardous product, it remained on Home Depot shelves available for purchase by Home Depot customers well after the recall and well after the deadly side effect was known. It was not until March 2007, 18 months after the original recall, that Home Depot and Roanoke acknowledged the apparent source of the continuing problem.

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