Legal Issues

J&J Can't Settle Ortho-Evra Birth Control Patch Cases Fast Enough

J&J Can't Settle Ortho-Evra Birth Control Patch Cases Fast Enough

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J&J Can't Settle Ortho-Evra Birth Control Patch Cases Fast Enough

More than 500 claimants are seeking "substantial compensatory and, where available, punitive damages," from Johnson & Johnson for injuries and deaths related to the Ortho Evra birth control patch, according to the company's Second Quarter Report filed with the SEC.

However, if legal analysts are correct, J&J ain't seen nothin yet.

Based on the millions of prescriptions written for the Ortho Evra patch since it came on the market in 2002, critics say there are thousands of victims who do not yet realize that an injury or death was caused by the patch.

FDA Needs To Ban Accutane

FDA Needs To Ban Accutane

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Unfortunately hundreds of parents already know that Accutane can cause some teenagers to commit suicide, but new evidence of a link between the acne drug and depression in the journal, Neuropsychopharmacology, will hopefully put an end to the years of claims by Hoffman-LaRoche that its drug is not responsible for the suicides.

Scientists from Bath University, with the University of Texas in Austin, reveal in the journal, Neuropsychopharmacology that experiments conducted on mice show that Accutane makes the rodents behave in ways recognized as depression.

Isotretinoin is a synthetic retinoid used as an oral treatment for severe nodular acne that has been linked with depression and suicide in patients. Isotretinoin is also sold under the brand names of Accutane, Roaccutane, Amnesteem, Claravis and Sotret.

Merck Insurance Carriers Jump Ship Over Vioxx Disaster

Merck Insurance Carriers Jump Ship Over Vioxx Disaster

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According to Merck's August 7, 2006, SEC filing, "At this time, the Company believes that its insurance coverage with respect to the Vioxx Lawsuits will not be adequate to cover its defense costs and any losses."

In addition, Merck says it has not established any reserves for potential liability relating to the Vioxx lawsuits or investigations, including for those cases in which a verdict has been entered against the company, and are now in post-verdict proceedings or on appeal.

According to the filing, Merck has product liability insurance for claims brought in the Vioxx Product Liability Lawsuits with upper limits of about $630 million after deductibles and co-insurance. This insurance provides coverage for legal defense costs and potential damage amounts that have been or will be incurred in connection with the Vioxx Product Liability Lawsuits.

Merck Vioxx Litigation Score Card

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In the homestretch leading up to the latest trial in New Orleans, the score in the Vioxx litigation was 5 to 4 in favor of Merck. However, in mid-August, 2006, a New Jersey victory for Merck was thrown out reversing the score to 5 to 4 in favor of plaintiffs.

But none of the winning plaintiffs should count their chickens before they are hatched because according to Merck's SEC filing on August 7, 2006, although the company has set aside $685 for attorney fees and legal defense costs:

"The Company has not established any reserves for any potential liability relating to the Vioxx Lawsuits or the Vioxx Investigations, including for those cases in which a verdict or judgment has been entered against the Company, and are now in post-verdict proceedings or on appeal."

Device-Maker Medtronic Weighed Down With Lawsuits

Device-Maker Medtronic Weighed Down With Lawsuits

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On July 31, 2006, Jacqueline Kay Poteet, a whistleblower in a lawsuit against the giant medical device maker, Medtronic, filed a motion in a Memphis federal court to oppose the US Justice Department’s plan to settle her case, along with another whistleblower's case, for $40 million.

Critics point out that the identity of the other whistleblower remains a secret and question why it has never been made public.

Ms Poteet's motion alleges that “this case has not been adequately investigated” by the government, and that the $40 million amount is “woefully inadequate.”

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