Monsanto

Monsanto Popular Weed Killer to Be Labeled a Cancer Risk

Monsanto, a major agricultural corporation, can now be required to label its popular weed-killer, as a possible cancer threat.

California can require Monsanto to label Roundup, its top-selling herbicide, as a possible cancer threat, a judge tentatively ruled Friday.

Monsanto has insisted that its product poses no risk to people. 

On Friday, a federal judge denied the corporation’s bid to overturn a 2015 state ruling to label it as a cancer risk.

The main criticism is Roundup’s main ingredient. The popular weed-killer includes Glyphosate, a chemical which was originally touted as a way to kill weeds while leaving crops and plants intact.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, says it has ‘low toxicity.’ The agency considers Glyphosate safe when used correctly.
However, under California Proposition 65 label requirements in California, businesses are required to notify Californians about significant amounts of chemicals in the products that they purchase.

Chemicals that require labeling include ingredients or additives in pesticides, common household products, food, drugs, dyes, or solvents.

California regulators are waiting for the lawsuit to be resolved before deciding whether to require warnings, said Sam Delson, a spokesman for the state Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.

Software

Medical Device Software Vulnerabilities a Huge Concern

Software vulnerabilities of medical devices may be difficult for health sector officials and manufacturers to manage.

As we reported last week, St. Jude implemented software updates that could protect pacemakers and other medical devices from being compromised by hackers. Oxycontin

Unfortunately, new information suggested that the public is not completely in the clear.

“Software is never perfect and all systems still will have these flaws,” says Joshua Corman, director of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council and an expert on medical device security. “The question is how gracefully and collaboratively and quickly and safely can we respond to these flaws.”

In late 2016, there were reports that the Merlin@home transmitter used in monitoring certain St. Jude Medical implant devices could be hacked. These hacks could lead to deadly consequences for  the patient.

MedSec, a cybersecurity firm,  initially found the problems in the St. Jude devices. After which they “tipped off”- the activist investment firm Muddy Waters, which publicized the flaws and advised clients to bet against the health care firm’s stock.

Ever since the US government and St. Jude confirmed the one flaw, the VA has been “taking steps to be sure all our patients and providers are aware of this issue and take appropriate actions to be sure that all our patients get the update for their monitor,” said Merritt Raitt, acting director of the VA National Cardiac Device Surveillance Program.

drug

Nation’s Largest Drug Distributor to Pay $150M in Settlement

Drug distributor McKesson Corporation will pay a $150 million fine.

Regulators have alleged that McKesson Corporation, a drug distributor, failed to report suspicious orders of painkillers that have been linked to the opioid addiction epidemic.drug

The company has agreed to pay a $150 million fine after they allegedly failed to detect and report suspicious orders of prescription pain pills, according to federal prosecutors. This has arguably led to the growing heroin crisis.

For example, more than 1.6 million orders for controlled substances were filled by McKesson in Colorado between June 2008 through May 2013. However,  just 16 of them from a single customer as suspicious, the Justice Department said.

In a statement from the White House last summer, federal fears related to pain killer and opioid addictions were made clear:

“President [Obama] has made [it] clear that addressing this epidemic is a priority for his Administration.  While Federal agencies have been using their authority to take every available action they can, Congress needs to take action on what is most urgently needed now – additional funding to make lifesaving treatment available to everyone who seeks it. The President has called for $1.1 billion in new funding to help Americans who want treatment get it wherever they live.”

Those addicted to opioid painkillers are most likely to form a heroin addiction according to the Centers for Disease and prevention.

McKesson, the nation’s largest drug distributor,  was accused of failing  to create an effective system to detect suspicious pharmacy orders. This was argued to be a violation of the Controlled Substances Act.

In 2008, McKesson agreed to a $13.25 million civil penalty for actions including failing to report suspicious sales of their drugs on “internet pharmacies.”

 

In a statement, McKesson said it settled “in the interest of moving beyond disagreements about whether McKesson was complying with the controlled substance regulations … and to instead focus on the company’s partnership with regulators and others to help stem the opioid epidemic in this country.”

Coca-cola

Consumer Group Suing Coca-Cola Due to Sugary Soda Risks

Lawsuit claims Coca-Cola misled consumers on sugary soda health risks.

The consumer-advocacy group, Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) asserts that Coca-Cola has misled consumers about the health risks of sugary drinks such as soda. Coca-Cola

In 2015, it was revealed that the corporate giant had heavily funded and been involved in the operation of the research group Global Energy Balance Network. Coca-Cola aimed to help establish the group as a “reputable scientific source to counter “public health extremists.” The company has starkly tried to avoid claims that their products are unhealthy.

It is based on these findings that the lawsuit claims that, “for years, [the] defendants have engaged in a pattern of deception to mislead and confuse the public (and governmental entities that bear responsibility for the public health) about the scientific consensus that consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.”

The industry group, American Beverage Association (ABA) is the co-defendant in the lawsuit. The ABA continues to argue that obesity is a “complex condition.” Further asserting that as obesity and diabetes rates continue to rise, that soda consumption is dropping.

CSPI wants the ABA and Coca-Cola to make some changes. They want marketing to disclose the health risks of sugary drinks, while stopping ads directed at children. They also want the groups to disclose file “indicating the potential health implications.” Plus, the CSPI would like for Coca-Cola and the ABA to fund a public health campaign.

The ABA said in a statement that “America’s beverage companies know we have an important role to play in addressing our nation’s health challenges. That’s why we’re engaging with health groups and community organizations to drive a reduction in the sugar and calories Americans get from beverages.”

Coca-Cola has called the suit “legally and factually meritless.”

Johnson & Johnson Faces More Legal Trouble Over Hip Products

Johnson and Johnson is facing more legal trouble related to their hip products.

There are currently more than 8,000 suits for the DePuy Orthopaedics products manufactured by Johnson & Johnson.

In the past, the company has lost one trial involving the device and won another where the courts ruled in the manufacturer’s favor.

In the new case, the victim claims to have “suffered substantial injuries and damages” from the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary manufactured hip implant.

This comes less than a month after a federal jury in Dallas ordered Johnson & Johnson and its DePuy Orthopaedics unit to pay more than $1 billion to plaintiffs who claimed they were injured by Pinnacle hip implants.

The Indiana man filed the lawsuit in Middlesex County Superior Court on Dec. 9, the new suit alleges that the metal-on-metal version of the product is defective. As a result of defects,  metal particles move into a recipient’s bloodstream and tissue after wear and tear.

If you have suffered pain or suffering due a faulty Johnson & Johnson hip replacement product, you could be entitled to compensation.

VW Faces Massive Payout

VWAutomobile manufacturer Volkswagen has been buried in a huge story of the company cheating on their emissions testing of their diesel cars. VW has agreed to pay U.S. owners and regulators, over $15 billion as a settlement in the case.

According to Reuters, Under Volkswagen’s proposed settlement of U.S. civil claims published on Tuesday, the German group has pledged to compensate 475,000 owners of VW diesel-powered cars there, giving them the option to sell their vehicles back to VW or have them fixed. Most U.S. owners will get $5,100 to $10,000, based on the pre-scandal value of their vehicles, but spending on buybacks could be much less if owners opt for repairs instead.

The process for the automotive giant to recover from this scandal will be lengthy and extremely costly.To go along with the $15 billion going to consumers, there is also a pending $45 billion penalty to be handed down by the Environmental Protection Agency. It has also been proposed that VW pay out settlements to their European customers as well, which according to Bloomberg could be an additional $43 billion.

It will be interesting to see how long this issue drags on for. There are a lot of moving parts, and people involved. Another thing to keep an eye on is how Volkswagen can move on from something like this, as well as how their sales numbers look moving forward.

 

 

Nexium Health Risks

NexiumPopular over-the-counter heartburn drug Nexium, has made news recently over possible harmful side-effects. Multiple lab tests have revealed that the drug can lead to damage of arteries as well as an increased risk of heart attack or heart disease.

According to a CBS news report, AstraZeneca, the maker of Nexium, responded with a statement noting that the study was conducted in a laboratory setting, “not in humans within a controlled clinical trial. Therefore, conclusions around cause and effect cannot be made.

In a CNN report it was stated that patients who took PPIs (like Nexium) had a 96% increased risk of developing kidney failure and a 28% increased risk of chronic kidney disease compared to the patients who took the histamine H2 receptor blockers (another form of heartburn medication.)

AstraZeneca also stated that the drug is typically safe to use when taken in the prescribed doses, however many people do not follow the recommended doses as printed on the label. Roughly 1 in every 14 Americans use some form of heartburn medication, and many people end up overusing the drugs over a long period of time.

This continues to be a somewhat confusing topic due to the fact that it has not been proven that Nexium is the cause of the damaged arteries, but with all of the speculation there is cause for concern. The FDA has called for increased testing on all heartburn medications to ensure the products are safe, and the side-effects are properly labeled on the packaging.

There have not been any lawsuits filed over this issue, but if it is revealed that Nexium is linked to heart problems, there could be cases to come.

Kia Faces Minivan Recall

KiaAutomobile manufacturer Kia, is recalling nearly 100,000 of the company’s Sedona minivans with model years spanning from 2006 to 2012. The recall is in place due to some suspension parts that are susceptible to rust damage when they come into contact with salt used on icy roads in the winter.

The recall will effect drivers in the following cold-weather states: Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C.

According to a Chron article, the same recall problem was addressed in 2013.  2006 and 2007 model year vehicles will have their suspension parts replaced by the company, while the remaining vehicles will receive an anti-rust coating on the parts to protect them from any further damage.

Kia will reportedly inform consumers of their recall on July 25th.

Panera Facing Peanut Butter Lawsuit

paneraPanera, a chain bakery/restaurant popular across the United States, has been cast in some negative light through the media lately. The company faces a lawsuit due to an allergy mishap at a store in Massachusetts.

Elissa and John Russo ordered their 6 year-old daughter a grilled cheese online, and explicitly stated the child’s severe allergy to peanut butter. When the little girl became extremely ill after eating the sandwich, the parents knew something had gone wrong. Supposedly, a language barrier caused the workers at the store to put 2 tablespoons of peanut butter on the sandwich, causing the allergic reaction that hospitalized the girl for several days.

In an article from The Daily Meal, the Russo’s stated they have chosen to sue the Panera New England franchise for negligence, saying the sandwich chain, “engaged in unfair and deceptive business practices by adding peanut butter to the plaintiff’s grilled cheese sandwich knowing that [she] has a life-threatening peanut allergy.”

With an increase in awareness of allergies it is surprising to see such an event occur, especially one where the instructions were explicitly defined. The details of the lawsuit have not been released, but it will be interesting to see how the company handles this incident. If people with allergies to certain foods do not feel safe eating at Panera, their company will lose a large amount of money.

Airbag Recall Looms Over Takata

Takata

The automotive industry has been buzzing lately surrounding the massive airbag crisis caused by Takata, the worlds largest airbag and seat belt supplier. The airbags installed in cars from 2002-2015 have been reported to deploy explosively, injuring hundreds and causing 10 casualties in the U.S.

According to a Consumer Reports article, Fiat Chrysler, Mitsubishi, Toyota, and Volkswagen confirm in a report from Florida Senator Bill Nelson that they are selling some new vehicles with airbags that contain Takata’s ammonium nitrate-based propellant in driver and passenger frontal airbag inflators without a chemical drying agent, also known as a desiccant. These vehicles will have to be recalled by 2018.

The estimated number of recalls needed by 2019 is over 75 million vehicles ranging from 14 different automotive manufacturers. These enormous number of recalls is not only harmful to consumers, it also hurts the entire automotive industry. However, with increased scrutiny being focused on the quality and safety of the airbags, they should become safer in the future so these recalls do not continue to occur.

On April 7, 2016 a 17 year old girl in Texas was killed when shrapnel from an exploding Takata airbag impaled her neck. The fatality marked the 10th life lost due to the malfunctioning airbags. To date, over 8 million airbags have been replaced, but there are still millions more that need to be addressed. The process of replacing all of the airbags that need recalls could take many years, and new cases of faulty airbags continue to be reported frequently. This crisis could open the market for new manufacturers to dethrone Takata as the top dog in the airbag field moving forward. It will be very interesting to see how Takata handles this scenario, their stock prices have plummeted since the reports came out. This story is one that will continue to be in the news as more information comes out.  Infographic-Air bags