Here’s what other personal injury and workers’ compensation lawyers were talking about the week of October 25, 2013:
- Too Many Doctors Use Too Much Radiation to Treat Prostate Cancer Pain (Protect Patients Blog). As this article points out, despite the widespread and beneficial use of radiation in cancer treatment, the dangers of radiation are well-documented. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) suggests that, in spite of these dangers, doctors might be using radiation therapy too often for patients with advanced-stage prostate cancer. The excessive use of radiation puts prostate cancer patients at risk of normal cell damage, skin irritation, diarrhea, bleeding, and other health problems – along with adding to the cost of their treatment.
- FDA Proposes Changes in Pain Medication Prescriptions (Worker’s Compensation Law Blog). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that there will soon be proposed changes dealing with labeling for extended-release and long-acting opioid pain relievers. In addition to requiring new labeling requirements, the FDA will also require manufacturers of these medications to study certain known risks when these drugs are used long-term. According to Douglas Throckmorton, M.D., deputy director of regulatory programs in FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, “The new labeling requirements and other actions are intended to help prescribers and patients make better decisions about who benefits from the use of these medications. They also are meant to reduce problems associated with their use. Altogether, the actions we’re now announcing are part of FDA’s efforts to make opioids as safe as possible for those who need them.”
- Massachusetts Vaginal Mesh Lawsuit Can Proceed, Says Appeals Court (Drug Injury Lawyers Blog). A Massachusetts Appeals Court recently reversed a lower court’s decision and ruled that a dismissed vaginal mesh lawsuit can proceed. There are currently over 30,000 lawsuits pending nationwide over complications associated with transvaginal mesh, though some experts predict that the number could reach 50,000. The device – which is commonly used to treat pelvic organ prolapse – has been known to cause infection nerve damage, pain, sexual dysfunction, bleeding, pain during intercourse, vaginal scarring, recurring prolapse, recurring intercourse, vaginal shrinking, emotional trauma, and other serious side effects. This year alone Endo has paid at least $54.5 million to resolve transvaginal mesh lawsuits. Endo, along with vaginal mesh manufacturers CR Bard, Boston Scientific, Cook Medical, and Coloplast A/S, is in negotiations to settle other pending lawsuits.
- Luxuries of the Medical Device Industry (The Pop Tort). This scathing article criticizes the medical device industry for its attempt to repeal the 2.3 percent tax on medical devices saying that the tax is the least the industry can do given that it has “immunity for killing and injuring patients with its most dangerous devices.” According to the article, “[i]n 2008, in the case Riegel v. Medtronic, the U.S. Supreme Court immunized the medical device industry for marketing unsafe, high risk Class III medical devices,” which are the most dangerous types of medical devices because they are the devices that “support or sustain human life or are of substantial importance in preventing impairment of human health or presents a potential, unreasonable risk of illness or injury,” such as heart pacemakers and implanted defibrillators. As a result of the decision in Riegel v. Medtronic, federal courts around the country have dismissed thousands of lawsuits despite the fact that, in many times, the courts have recognized that the plaintiffs suffered injuries at the hands of the medical device manufacturers.