Monthly Archives: June 2008

Jury Awards $6Million in Taser Death Lawsuit

A federal jury in California has found Taser International responsible for the death of 40-year-old Robert Heston Jr. who was killed after being repeatedly tasered by police. According to reports, the police his Heston with more than 30 shots fired from their Taser stun guns.
The jury found that Taser International located in Scottsdale Arizona had failed to warn police officers that tasers could be dangerous even lethal when fired upon those under the influence of drugs or in conjunction with chest compressions.
In the past few years, Taser International has come under fire from Amnesty International as well as other advocacy groups for the dangerous nature of the taser. Amnesty International has called for a suspension of tasers because of their lethal effects.
The problem with the taser gun is that it is marketed as a safe non-lethal weapon that will aid police officers in subduing suspects.
This is the first jury loss Taser International has suffered since the stun gun has come onto the market and drawn lawsuits because of its dangers.

Heparin Problems Continue

The contaminated heparin that caused worldwide furor a few months continues to make news and the FDA continues to monitor and investigate the issue. FDA has received 97 reports for adverse events associated with heparin-containing devices that occurred between Jan. 1 and May 14. These include 11 deaths and 86 nonfatal events. Contaminated heparin from China has been linked to 81 deaths in the US.

Chicago Archbishop Acts Quickly to Remove a Priest

It’s too bad Cardinal George can’t act as quickly with priest sex abusers as he did with a priest who made what seemed to George politically incorrect comments about Hillary Clinton. One has to wonder what’s wrong with George. A year ago, when one of his young priests was facing serious allegations of sexual abuse of minors, George dragged his feet before removing Daniel McCormack. Yet, Rev. Michael Pfleger, who has a long history of solid pastoral work in Chicago, was immediately removed from his post after disparaging Hillary Clinton in Barack Obama’s former church.
I just don’t understand how George makes these types of decisions. McCormack has been charged with very serious sexual crimes and Pfleger has been charged with nothing more serious than making an impassioned political statement. It makes me think not much has changed in the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Fosamax Linked to Femur Fractures

A study published in the current edition of Orthopedic Trauma associates the drug Fosamax with femur fractures. This is significant since prior to this journal study, Fosamax had been linked to jaw necrosis and not femur fractures. The study noted that these fractures were not occurring in femurs that appeared to be osteoporotic.
The study comes as more bad news for Merck whose bisphosphonates drug Fosamax is already facing lawsuits from those who’ve suffered jaw bone death. Now, Merck may face lawsuits stemming from femur fractures.

Women’s Health Groups Raise Concerns over Eli Lilly’s Marketing of Evista

The concern is not new but now certain advocacy groups’ ire is focused on Eli Lilly’s Evista slick marketing campaign. The campaign touts Eli Lilly’s osteoporosis drug Evista and portrays post-menopausal women in togas. “You’re past menopause and are treating osteoporosis,” the narrator says. “Why not ask your doctor about Evista, the only medicine that treats osteoporosis and reduces your risk of invasive breast cancer?”
Yet, in truth, Evista carries a black box warning from the FDA. In a clinical trial involving 10,000 patients, Evista was shown to actually increase the risk of death after a stroke by 49%.
Two years ago, the FDA fined Eli Lilly because the pharmaceutical company began promoting Evista as a breast cancer drug prior to FDA approval. In addition, Evista’s benefit in treating breast cancer has been spurious.
This latest attempt by Lilly to market a product in order to grow sales rather than concern itself with consumer safety shows the real problem we face with direct to consumer marketing campaigns. These ads play on emotion rather than science and their end goal is to grow sales rather than promote a health benefit.