Another Story of Profit Trumping Public Safety

Almost weekly there’s news of another company choosing to deceive consumers about the safety of their products – always in the name of profit.

The latest company to come under scrutiny is Purdue Pharma – makers of the popular opioid painkilling drug OxyContin.

The State of Illinois is now suing the company for consumer fraud and for profiting from that deception. The state joins a growing number of jurisdictions (CA, WV, WA) charging that Purdue Pharma intentionally misled the public about the safety of OxyContin or allowed the sale of the drug in excessively large quantities to businesses suspected of trafficking in the drug.

What is the nature of the claims against Purdue Pharma?

According to prosecutors and the LA Times, Purdue Pharma is guilty of providing the FDA with incomplete information about the drug when it was first introduced. They are also allegedly guilty of making exaggerated and knowingly false claims about the duration of dose effects and for actively permitting the sale of OxyContin to practitioners and pharmacies suspected of being drug traffickers.

Why do so many companies make choices like the ones Purdue Pharma did in this case?

Continue reading “Another Story of Profit Trumping Public Safety” »

Defibrillator Maker Fails to Adequately Warn Patients and Doctors of Defect

Defibrillator Maker Fails to Adequately Warn Patients and Doctors of DefectWe write often about corporations selling products they privately know are dangerous.

In almost every instance, the choice to sell in spite of the dangers is made for the sake of corporate profits.

To the long list of companies that have made this choice, we now add St. Jude Medical – a company, recently purchased by Abbott Laboratories.

The product they have sold that is dangerous? Defibrillators with batteries packs known to fail.

Think about that for a moment. Defibrillators protect patients with heart problems by delivering an electric shock to return a diseased heart to a normal rhythm when it is not beating properly.

These brief electrical discharges are life savers. And these devices are implanted in the chests of the patients who need them.

So what happens when the batteries suddenly fail? Continue reading “Defibrillator Maker Fails to Adequately Warn Patients and Doctors of Defect” »

Trouble Ahead for Consumers

The right to take legal action when injured by a product or service is one of the greatest protections consumers enjoy in the U.S.

Every day we make choices as consumers, and at times, despite our best efforts to carefully research our options, the purchases we make simply do not work as intended or worse, end up harming or injuring us in some way. In these cases, product liability law is often a consumer’s best friend – providing the means to hold manufacturers, retailers, distributors, and suppliers accountable when their products cause harm to their consumers.

From GM’s defective ignition switches and exploding gas tanks, to Dow Corning’s faulty silicone breast implants to Phillip Morrisand the harm caused by tobacco, there have been tens of thousands of cases brought against a range of companies for harm.

And the result?

Not only justice in many cases for those injured – but also a degree of protection for other consumers. Each time a company is held accountable for a defective product – that product is either removed from the market or improved so as to make it safe.

So why is there trouble ahead?

Continue reading “Trouble Ahead for Consumers” »

A Leading Cause of Injury and Death…? Greed.

photo-credit-tony-webster-via-foter-com-cc-by

In the 1990’s, a little known manufacturer from Japan named Takata, approached GM with a less expensive airbag system that could be deployed in GM vehicles.

GM was impressed and asked their current manufacturer, Autoliv, to match the price or risk losing the business.

Anxious to retain the GM account – Autoliv immediately investigated the new, less expensive alternative.

What they discovered about the Takata airbag system alarmed them – and they alerted GM.   Engineers at Autoliv had discovered that the new system in question used an extremely dangerous and highly volatile compound in its inflator.

The compound, called ammonium nitrate, was discovered to expand so quickly that it blew the inflator to bits – literally turning the metal components of the device into potentially deadly shrapnel.

In the end, Autoliv told GM they were not willing to replicate the Takata device… and lost GM’s business.

Over 100 injuries, some fatal, and over 100 million vehicle recalls later, investigators are still working to understand the choices auto manufacturers made when they fatefully decided to buy from Takata.

Sadly – the motivation to improve profit margins at the expense of vehicle safety seems to have been at the center of the choices made by GM.

So just what was the difference in cost?

A few dollars per airbag.

Were the Autoliv revelations about the dangers of ammonium nitrate new?

No.  Research studies going back decades warned of the dangers surrounding the compound – particularly when it is exposed to dramatic temperature shifts and moisture.  In fact, given its dangerous volatility, Takata has often struggled to find suppliers of ammonium nitrate.

Given all that is known about Takata’s dangerously flawed technology – one would assume car makers have stopped using their products – right?

Nope.

Takata continues to manufacture airbags with this compound — and incredibly automakers continue to buy them.  These airbags have been built into the 2016 models of seven different automakers.   Even more incredibly – the Takata bags are being used as replacement airbags for those being recalled.

How is all of this possible…?

Sadly, tragedies like this one happen when automakers press suppliers to put cost before all else – including safety.

If you suspect that you or a loved one have been harmed by a Takata airbag, call a qualified Connecticut product liability lawyer.  A knowledgeable and well trained product liability lawyer can help you fight powerful corporate interests when you’ve been hurt, ensuring that you’re not harassed or abused and that your rights are protected. 

For over 60 years, the Connecticut product liability attorneys at RisCassi and Davis have been working hard to protect our clients.  Please contact us if we can help you. The consultation is free and there is no obligation of any kind.  And – there is no fee or other costs unless we are successful on your behalf

 

Photo credit: Tony Webster via Foter.com / CC BY

 

 

 

 

 

Profit before Consumer Safety and Why We Need Trial Lawyers More than Ever

think tank

The last 50 years has witnessed a proliferation in the number of so-called think tanks operating in America.

Most people hear or read the word “think tank” and conclude – “hey – that must be a group of really smart people!”

One would hope so – right?

Ideally, a think tank is, in fact, supposed to be a group of experts that study a particular subject and then seek to provide consumers, the news media and government officials with unbiased insights on that topic.

Is that how they work in reality?

In reality – no. A great many think tanks are the creation of special interests seeking to influence public opinion.   In many cases, they’re the creation of PR firms seeking to protect or promote a company or industry they serve.

In other words – they are front groups – created to sell products and protect corporate profits.

The past 70 years have witnessed egregious examples of corporations and industries creating “think tanks” with lofty names organized solely to protect the profitability of dangerous products.

What’s this got to do with trial lawyers? Just wait – you’ll see…

Continue reading “Profit before Consumer Safety and Why We Need Trial Lawyers More than Ever” »

If You Have an IVC Blood Filter – Beware…

IVC Filter lawsuits on the rise.The capacity of blood to clot externally is a great gift to humans. Without it, we’d be at risk for uncontrollable hemorrhaging from simple cuts and other skin wounds.

Sadly, many people also suffer from medical conditions that put them at risk for internal blood clots. These clots can be killers – particularly if they lodge in organs like the lungs, the heart and the brain.

For these people, physicians have long prescribed drugs that “thin” the blood making it much less likely to clot. These thinners actually make the blood corpuscles “slippery” – and clumping together much less likely.

What about those individuals who can’t tolerate the drugs?

To address that issue – medical device engineers designed filters that can be installed in critical human blood vessels to capture wayward, migrating clots. Installed in tens of thousands of patients, these filters have now been in use since 1979.

There’s just one problem – one class of these filters – called a retrievable IVC filter – has a tendency to break apart and/or break loose from the vessel where they are temporarily anchored with dire – and sometimes fatal consequences.

The full name for this filter is “Inferior Vena Cava filter” (IVC for short) and it is implanted in the very large vein (the inferior vena cava) that carries blood back to the heart from the lower extremities.

Continue reading “If You Have an IVC Blood Filter – Beware…” »

J&J Hit with $502 Million Verdict in Defective Pinnacle Hip Cases

Pinnacle hip recall law suits.

For a number of years, RisCassi & Davis has been working to help protect the rights of patients who, over the last 13 years, received grossly defective metal-on-metal hip replacements made by Depuy Orthopaedics, a Johnson & Johnson company.

Two of the Depuy/J&J hip implant products in particular, the Pinnacle and the ASR, have been the target of government recalls and numerous consumer lawsuits.

The metal-on-metal hip systems are known for serious problems with their design, problems that have led to an increased failure rate, metallosis, infection, dislocation and immobility.

On March 16th, 2016 a Dallas, Texas jury decided in favor of five patients who had consolidated their claims in a lawsuit over injuries sustained when their Pinnacle implants failed prematurely. The plaintiffs had filed their suits claiming serious design defects and alleging the companies had failed to warn patients of the dangers of the implants. Both J&J and DePuy were found liable by the Texas jury. Both companies have announced their intentions to appeal the verdict.

Currently there are thousands of separate Pinnacle cases awaiting action.

Just how bad are these products?

Continue reading “J&J Hit with $502 Million Verdict in Defective Pinnacle Hip Cases” »

Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Found to Cause Ovarian Cancer

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) skin and hair care brands have long enjoyed a wholesome reputation with consumers. Many of us associate the name J&J with happy memories of skin care products for infants and children.

They seemed unlikely to be a company that would manufacture and sell products known by them to cause cancer.

But sadly – that’s what they’ve done.

A Missouri jury has just decided in favor of a group of women who sued J&J, alleging the company deliberately turned a blind eye to evidence that using talcum powder in the female genital area was linked to ovarian cancer. The products in question were made and sold by Johnson & Johnson and are called Baby Powder and Shower to Shower body powder.

In the suit, lawyers for the women presented evidence that J&J was aware of studies on talcum powder that showed a 92% increase in the risk of ovarian cancers in women who used talcum products around their genital areas. Researchers in 1982 even went so far as to warn the company to place warning stickers on their products – as did some of J&J’s talc suppliers. Those warnings and pleas were never heeded.

Continue reading “Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Found to Cause Ovarian Cancer” »

Blood Clot Filter Found Dangerous

Blood clots are dangerous for many reasons – including the risk they may break loose and lodge in blood vessels of the heart or brain with fatal results.

Are there treatment options?

Yes – several, and most appear to be very helpful. But there is at least one causing significant harm.

C.R. Bard, a U.S. manufacturer of medical devices, manufactures and sells a device that, once implanted, is supposed to stop blood clots from traveling from peripheral vessels to either the heart or the brain.

Sadly – the device appears to be responsible for close to 30 deaths and over 300 other non-fatal problems.

Was the product approved by the FDA?

Yes.

Did the company know the clot filter was defective?

Continue reading “Blood Clot Filter Found Dangerous” »

Another Major Drug – Xarelto – Found to Cause Harm

You’ve undoubtedly seen the TV commercials.

You know the ones with a middle aged man talking about having an irregular heart beat not caused by a faulty heart valve with a “heightened risk of stroke”…

He cheerfully announces to the camera that he takes Xarelto – a new drug that doesn’t “tie him down to once a month blood tests” – giving him the freedom to live his life.

Pretty inspiring stuff – right?

These slick commercials fail to add one very significant fact… Xarelto is known to cause uncontrolled bleeding and death and in fact has resulted in injury to thousands of Americans, including 151 deaths.

Xarelto was originally approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and eventually went on to garner $2 billion in sales nationwide with roughly one million prescriptions written by 2013, two years after the drug’s introduction into the market, according to court documents.

Consumer advocates are accusing the maker of the drug, Bayer and Janssen Pharmaceuticals of concealing safety information from the public and for failing to properly test the drug prior to its release.

This latest case of a pharmaceutical drug causing harm is just one of many over the last decade. Another blood thinner called Pradaxa has caused similar harm. The Institute for Safe Medication Practices recently revealed that blood thinners – including Xarelto – were among the most dangerous drugs on the market – with the highest number of serious side effects reported to the FDA.  Add to that fact, the many documented examples of drug research fraud, payments to doctors to prescribe certain medications and an industry that spends more to influence government regulators than any other industry – and you have a significant problem effecting patient safety.

If you or a loved one is ever the victim of a defective drug like Xarelto, call a qualified Connecticut product liability lawyer. A knowledgeable product liability attorney can help to ensure that your rights are protected.

RisCassi & Davis has handled large numbers of these kinds of cases over our 60 years serving the people of Connecticut.

What’s more, our Connecticut product liability lawyers have received local and national recognition for our handling of these cases.

Please contact us if we can help you. The consultation is free and there is no obligation of any kind. And – there is no fee or other costs unless we are successful on your behalf.