A court in St. Louis, Missouri has ordered the US pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson (J&J) to pay over $110 million to a Virginia woman, who claims she developed ovarian cancer after decades of using its talcum powder.
The verdict is the largest for J&J among nearly 2,400 current lawsuits accusing the company of insufficient warning to consumers about cancer risks connected to products containing talc.
The nomination of Robert Califf to head the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) demonstrates once again that the pharmaceutical industry has immense influence in federal government. The FDA, which claims to protect us from bad foods and drugs, is now run by a person who has reaped hundreds of thousands of dollars through ties to 23 drug companies.
Big Pharma has a very special privilege in the U.S., which is one of only two countries that allow direct-to-consumer marketing of its patented products. Between this and its profit-sharing relationship with doctors, the industry has a nation hooked on legal drugs such as opioids which are killing people by the thousands and leading to a massive heroin epidemic.
A state jury in Missouri awarded $72 million to the family of a woman who died of ovarian cancer linked to her use of Johnson & Johnson Powder products, according to Reuters and other published reports.
Jacqueline Fox, who lived in Alabama, died at 62 in October of ovarian cancer that lawyers for her estate said was linked to her use of Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products for feminine hygiene over the course of three decades. Her lawyers allege the company failed to warn consumers of the cancer risk even though it was aware of the danger as far back as the 1980s.
– Meet Liz Fowler: Architect of ObamaCare Jumps Ship to Johnson & Johnson (Mike Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog, Dec 8, 2012):
Following the passage of ObamaCare, several of the smartest people I know claimed that the bill was actually written by and for the drug and insurance companies rather than “the people” as Obama had claimed. My friend and orthopedic surgeon Dave Janda wrote an excellent piece that I published titled: Thoughts on Obamacare from a Surgeon and Friend.
In recent days it has emerged that Liz Fowler, who is said to have been one of the key architects of ObamaCare, is doing what any good revolving door crony capitalist would do. She is moving to the private sector to receive her payoff. Trudy Lieberman of the Columbia Journal Review explains that:
– Risperdal causes teenage boy to grow ‘D cup’ breasts; Judge lets CEO of company off the hook regardless (Natural News, Oct 11, 2012):
Big Pharma firm Johnson & Johnson, maker of the antipsychotic drug Risperdal, owes hundreds of millions of dollars to several states over improper marketing of the medication and for encouraging doctors to prescribe it for non-approved uses, but because the case was settled in court the company’s CEO, Alex Gorsky, won’t have to testify about allegations his company’s drug caused some young boys to grow breasts, among others.
Manufactured by J&J subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Risperdal hit the market in 1994 as a drug designed and approved to treat patients diagnosed with schizophrenia. Later, it was approved to treat bipolar disorder as well, along with irritability in children with autism. Still later, in 2007, it was further approved to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in adolescents, reports said.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – More than 17,000 doctors and other healthcare providers have taken money from seven major drug companies to talk to other doctors about their products, a joint investigation by news organizations and non-profit groups found.
More than 380 of the doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other professionals took in more than $100,000 in 2009 and 2010, according to the investigation released on Tuesday. The report said far more doctors are likely to have taken such payments, but it documented these based on information from seven drugmakers.
The payments are not illegal and usually not even considered improper. But the investigation by journalism group ProPublica, Consumer Reports magazine, NPR radio and several publications showed doctors were sometimes urged to recommend “off-label” prescriptions of drugs, meaning using them for conditions they are not approved for.
And the report points to several studies showing that even small gifts and payments to doctors can affect their attitudes, and many companies have stopped giving out once-common gifts such as pens, cups and other objects carrying drug brand names.
“Tens of thousands of U.S. physicians are paid to spread the word about pharma’s favored pills and to advise the companies about research and marketing,” the group says in its report, available here
The groups used information from seven drugmakers — AstraZeneca, Cephalon, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly, Merck and Pfizer.
“Some of the companies were forced to disclose this information as a result of legal settlements; others released it voluntarily,” Consumer Reports said.
It said more than 70 other pharmaceutical companies have not disclosed payments made to doctors, although the healthcare reform law passed in March will require them to do so by 2013.
“This investigation begins to pull back the shroud on these activities,” Dr. John Santa, director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center, said in a statement.
“The amount of money involved is astounding, and the ProPublica report’s account of the background of some of the physicians is disturbing.”
(Reuters) – U.S. inspectors found thick dust and contaminated ingredients at the Johnson & Johnson plant that produces Children’s Tylenol and dozens of other products that were recalled last week.
(NaturalNews) The other day I wrote a story about the massive recall by McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, of its infants’ and children’s line of Tylenol products. An FDA inspection report found these drugs to be contaminated with dangerous bacteria (they did not disclose the actual type) as well as “foreign materials” that were visible as “dark or black specks”. But a recent story published by USA Today has revealed that McNeil actually knew about the bacterial contamination and kept shipping the products anyway.
Only the drug industry could get away with this type of careless, reckless behavior with nothing more than a slap on the wrist from the FDA. In fact, the FDA did not even require McNeil to issue a recall after discovering the problem; McNeil did so voluntarily over “theoretical concerns” that were expressed by Deborah Autor, an FDA official who was quick to emphasize that the risk to consumers from the tainted products “is remote”.
So let me get this straight. An FDA report finds that a pharmaceutical company is knowingly using contaminated raw materials to make children’s and infants’ medicines in a factory that is failing to maintain its equipment, properly train its employees and correctly measure and weigh drug ingredients, and FDA officials consider the problem to be “theoretical”?
Can you imagine what would happen if an herbal product manufacturer were found to engage in the same behavior? The FDA would pounce on them, seize their products, issue a public warning and probably fine the company for its reckless behavior. But when Big Pharma pulls the same stunt, it’s just business as usual.
For years, Johnson & Johnson obscured evidence that its popular Ortho Evra birth control patch delivered much more estrogen than standard birth control pills, potentially increasing the risk of blood clots and strokes, according to internal company documents.
But because the Food and Drug Administration approved the patch, the company is arguing in court that it cannot be sued by women who claim that they were injured by the product — even though its old label inaccurately described the amount of estrogen it released.
This legal argument is called pre-emption. After decades of being dismissed by courts, the tactic now appears to be on the verge of success, lawyers for plaintiffs and drug companies say.
The Bush administration has argued strongly in favor of the doctrine, which holds that the F.D.A. is the only agency with enough expertise to regulate drug makers and that its decisions should not be second-guessed by courts. The Supreme Court is to rule on a case next term that could make pre-emption a legal standard for drug cases. The court already ruled in February that many suits against the makers of medical devices like pacemakers are pre-empted.
More than 3,000 women and their families have sued Johnson & Johnson, asserting that users of the Ortho Evra patch suffered heart attacks, strokes and, in 40 cases, death. From 2002 to 2006, the food and drug agency received reports of at least 50 deaths associated with the drug.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Members of Congress have as much as $196 million collectively invested in companies doing business with the Defense Department, earning millions since the onset of the Iraq war, according to a study by a nonpartisan research group.