Articles Posted in Multidistrict Litigation

Farmer Applying ParaquatIf you follow my blog, you’ve probably heard about paraquat. If you’re unfamiliar with paraquat, it’s a highly toxic herbicide that may cause Parkinson’s disease. As you might imagine, this potential link is alarming and has led to quite a few lawsuits. Let’s take a look at the current status of these paraquat cases.

Paraquat Lawsuits Begin

It’s undisputed as to the harm paraquat can cause when humans are exposed to it in large amounts over a short period of time. But much of the current litigation concerns plaintiffs who were exposed to paraquat for extended periods, such as when using it often while working on a farm. Due to this long-term exposure, plaintiffs are claiming that paraquat caused their Parkinson’s disease.

Zantac and cancerIn any product liability litigation, the injured person must ultimately prove that the injury was caused by the defective product (legal causation). A relatively easy example is when a lamp explodes and burns an individual, and in the post-explosion investigation the plaintiff discovers the lamp’s wiring was faulty and unreasonably dangerous. In the Zantac (ranitidine) multi-district litigation (MDL), thousands of plaintiffs have come forward alleging that use of the heartburn medication caused their various cancers. I discussed how Zantac is alleged to cause cancer in previous posts. You can start here if interested. In a nutshell, however, studies have shown that Zantac may contain potentially dangerous levels of NDMA (N-Nitrosodimethylamine), which is a likely carcinogen in humans.

There are several ways that NDMA is thought to be present in Zantac medication, which you can read about here. The larger point is simple: you do not want to ingest NDMA, and you certainly do not want to ingest large amounts of NDMA, especially for months or years. Remember, millions of people have taken Zantac or the generic ranitidine, some for many years, so the potential consumer-health risk is widespread. Zantac has been recalled.

Because these studies link Zantac to NDMA, plaintiffs who used Zantac and later developed one of several cancers (reasonably) came forward and filed lawsuits against the manufacturers of Zantac. The original Master Complaint listed at least sixteen different cancers, with indications that the list was not exhaustive.

iStock-512117406-300x200Claims of ovarian and other cancers due to talcum powder or baby powder use have been in the news a lot lately. There has also been plenty of litigation stemming from this possible link.

Although talcum powder studies are ongoing, it has been established that some products that use talcum powder may contain small amounts of asbestos. And there’s a well-known link between asbestos and cancer (especially mesothelioma).

So where does Johnson & Johnson come in? Well, they’ve been one of the more prominent defendants in these talcum powder/asbestos cancer lawsuits. Let’s take a quick look at the baby powder litigation and then examine how Johnson & Johnson is planning to use something called “Project Plato” to deal with their recent legal and financial losses.

Untitled-design-20-300x169There are as many as four million machines affected by the CPAP recall. The Philips CEO has stated that it may take a year or longer to fully repair or replace the affected machines. When he says repair he’s talking about replacing that problematic foam or replacing the entire machine for a brand new machine, so it’s going to take a while. And that’s one of the problems that a lot of the people that are calling my office are saying, and that is, that they use this machine to sleep and some of them are worried that they will have to use the recalled machine to sleep. So they’re in a tough position.  Again, I’m not a doctor and I don’t give medical advice, but I would say if you can find a replacement machine quickly, set aside your recalled CPAP machine and don’t use it and beyond that, you just have to talk to your doctor about what’s going on and what you should do next.

Potential Injuries from the Recalled CPAP Machines

What are the potential injuries from the recalled CPAP machines? These injuries would include somewhat modest problems like irritation to the eyes or skin, a cough, headache or dizziness. These are not unimportant issues, they can be serious problems, and they run from the gamut from headaches and nausea to sinus infection. More serious injuries include organ damage, asthma and even cancers. The medical community is looking at this aggressively and quickly and trying to figure out all the many problems that can result from inhaling these particulate foam pieces from the CPAP machines or getting exposed to the off-gassing.

CPAP machine for people with sleep apnea.Millions of people use the CPAP and BiPAP machines to alleviate symptoms of sleep apnea, so there’s a lot of people that should be interested in this topic. I’m going to move pretty quickly through this information, but I do want to start from the very beginning:

What is a CPAP and a BiPAP machine?

CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. This machine is programmed to produce pressurized air at one steady air pressure level. The way this works is if you want to change the air pressure on any CPAP machine, you have to reset the device’s settings. CPAP machines are extremely common. There are millions of CPAP machines in use and they’re used to treat obstructive sleep apnea.

Paraquat and Parkinson's DiseaseThere are many reasons to become educated on the herbicide Paraquat: it’s very dangerous, very toxic, and unfortunately studies are starting to indicate that it can cause serious disease if you’re exposed to it in any length of time.

What is Paraquat? / Why is it used?

Paraquat is a toxic chemical that is widely used in this country, particularly in the eastern half of the United States where there’s a lot of farmland, orchards, agricultural areas. It is used as an herbicide, a plant killer primarily for weed and grass control.

My tenofovir discussion with Attorney Whitney Butcher continues:

Clay: What are some of the brand names for a TAF tenofovir drug?

tenofovirWhitney: So the first TAF drug that was approved was called Genvoya, and it was approved in late 2015. And then Odefsey is another TAF drug that was approved in 2016. And then one that maybe is the most well-known is called Descovy, and that was also introduced into the market in the US in 2016. Truvada was perhaps one of the most well-known of the TDF drugs. Descovy is exactly the same as Truvada except it has TAF instead of TDF. So then it has also been approved by the FDA for PrEP. So, for prophylactic treatment of patients who are currently HIV-negative and as a preventative measure. So Descovy is one of the biggest TAF drugs on the market right now.

Tenofovir Truvada GileadToday, we’re going to talk about the HIV medication, Tenofovir. This was a medication sold for years to delay the progression of HIV. As studies are beginning to show, there were problems with the medication causing toxicity to kidneys, bone loss and bone injury. Whitney Butcher is an attorney with Hilliard Martinez and Gonzales, and today we’re going to talk about Tenofovir, the brand name medications that derive from this compound, the problems that were discovered and the litigation that has inevitably followed all this.

Let’s start at the beginning. Most people know that HIV is the virus that causes AIDS, what is an antiretroviral drug?

Whitney Butcher: So, those were one of the first class of drugs that were basically brought to market to help stop and slow the spread of HIV. Once a person contracts HIV, the goal of these medications is to target the cells and prevent them from replicating so that an HIV diagnosis doesn’t progress into full-blown AIDS which can of course be life-threatening and very dangerous.

CPAP Machine Recalls
Philips Respironics (Philips) is a leading manufacturer of CPAP and BiPAP machines to help individuals treat their sleep apnea. Philips also makes ventilators which are often used in the medical setting. Earlier this summer, they announced a recall of many of these devices due to the potential harm they could cause their users. Let’s take a quick look at the nature of this recall and the resulting litigation.

Why Is There a Recall?

A variety of ventilators, CPAP and BiPAP machines produced by Philips use polyester-based polyurethane (PE-PUR) foam. The purpose of this material is to reduce the sound and vibration from these devices. However, this foam may break down and injure the user. It’s suspected that high heat and humidity could make this problem worse.

Hoy hablamos del herbicida Paraquat y hay muchas razones para informarse sobre este herbicida: es muy peligroso, muy tóxico y, lamentablemente, los estudios están comenzando a indicar que puede causar alguna enfermedad bastante grave si se expone a en cualquier período de tiempo.

¿Qué es el paraquat?

Paraquat and Parkinson's DiseaseEs un químico tóxico que se usa ampliamente en este país, particularmente en la mitad este de los Estados Unidos, donde hay muchas tierras de cultivo, huertos y áreas agrícolas. Se utiliza como herbicida, un asesino de plantas principalmente para el control de malezas y pastos.

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