Saturday, November 29, 2008

Eli Lilly to Disclose Financial Ties to Doctors, a Drug Industry First

It's about time!

In an effort to quell public anger, pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Co. says it will create a "public database" listing the names of the physicians on Lilly's payroll for speaking engagements and consulting services. The AMA should prohibit doctors from hawking drugs for pay without public disclosure. The conflict of interest that is open and obvious with such practices is lethal with certain medications!

If it lives up to its pledge, Lilly will be a leader in the pharmaceutical industry toward greater transparency. Lilly's program is set to begin in 2009 and to be fully implemented in 2011. The Lilly program is modeled after federal legislation authored by Senate Aging Committee Chairman Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) and Finance Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).

Lilly decided to advance the transparency policies on its own because policymakers and the public are demanding drug companies be more open. Read: Jeffrey Young, The Hill, 9-24-08, Eli Lilly to disclose financial ties to doctors

Monday, November 24, 2008

Bush Administration Gives "Get Out Of Jail Free" Pass For Corporate Greed And Irresponsibility.

Every American worker and consumer has a constitutional right to American courts. Civil justice is the only mechanism by which American workers and consumers can keep corporate greed and irresponsibility under control. This right is as sacred as the right of habeas corpus.

Beginning with the Reagan administration in the 1980s, the executive department has attempted to develop a "statutory method" that prevents American workers and consumers from having their day in court. The preventive feature, called preemption, consists of statutory language that makes it illegal for a state or federal court to hear the claims of workers and consumers regardless of the merits. It's hard to imagine any democratic system that takes away a man's right to complain, but "preemption" does just that.

During the remaining 60 days of Pres. Bush's term, the Bush administration is trying to "push" through 21 regulations that contain preemption language, virtually a "get out of jail free" pass for corporate greed and irresponsibility. The regulations constitute a major assault on the middle-class, working families, and consumers, including among other things limitations on lawsuits involving safety standards for over-the-counter drugs, sunscreen products, automobile roof crush safety standards and crashworthiness of railroad cars that transport hazardous materials.

View "Get out of Jail Free: How the Bush Administration Helps Corporations Escape Accountability." View a list of regulations . American Association for Justice, 11/20/2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Dr. Frederick K. Goodwin, Psychiatrist Radio Host Tied to Drug Company Payments

The U.S. Senate is investigating Dr. Frederick K. Goodwin, a psychiatrist and host of "The Infinite Mind," a popular NPR radio program. Goodwin allegedly received more than $1 million in fees fro m drug makers between 2000 and 2007. According to reports, Goodwin failed to disclose that he was receiving payments from drug makers for treatments covered during his radio show.

Goodwin's problems surfaced as part of a larger Senate investigation into potential conflicts of interest by doctors. The Senate investigation is lead by Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa). Read Article: The New York Times

Monday, November 17, 2008

Wait until you read this: Dentist with History of Complaints Sued Over Breast Surgery

As the fraud of the fabled and unsubstantiated "frivolous medical malpractice lawsuit" continues to wreak havoc on unsuspecting patients, more and more the public is exposed to the reality of how incompetent the American medical profession can be. Aside from unconscionable hospital charges and outrageous surgical fees, the tragedy of medical malpractice all too often proves that justice is a fickle thing. Here is a case in point.

Thomas Laney, a dentist and oral surgeon, had 10 lawsuits filed against him, one of which resulted in the death of a patient. Unable to continue practicing as a dentist and oral surgeon, Laney turned himself into a plastic surgeon. Now Laney, the dentist turned plastic surgeon, faces a lawsuit over a botched breast reduction surgery, where a teenage patient was left deformed with extensive scars. The family’s lawyer contends that the consent forms were invalid because the parents and patient were not "fully informed" about the Laney’s lack of training. Vanessa Ho, Seattle Post-Intelligencer 11/09/2008 Read Article: Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bush Administration Blocks Safety Measures for Injured Consumers

Pres. George W. Bush once described himself as "the decider." Well, some of the decisions of our lame-duck president are downright alarming.

In the waning days of an administration that is the most inept administration since the days of Herbert Hoover, the Bush administration has declared "all-out war" on the middle-class in an effort to protect "corporate welfare," "corporate irresponsibility," and "corporate greed."

"What the Bush administration is trying to do in its last days in office is downright frightening…(including) its rush to change at least 50 federal agency rules for the purpose of blocking safety lawsuits by injured consumers, providing immunity to negligent or irresponsible corporations." These actions endanger all citizens and "…undoing the damage must be one of the highest priorities of the new administration."

Joanne Dorshow, Center for Justice & Democracy, The New York Times 11/11/2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Help Arrives: Appeals Court Rules Against Arbitration in Credit Card Case

Arbitration is bad, really bad! The idea that a judge-for-hire can be just simply boggles the mind. Yet, it happens everyday. It happens to the average person without his knowledge. Here's how.

Whenever you sign up for credit card or open a brokerage account, you -- the consumer -- unknowingly sign an agreement to arbitrate any dispute you may have with the Company. Many times, the arbitration judge is actually named in the account forms, leaving the individual without any say in the matter. Not only is the arbitration judge rented, but he's pre-selected by the Company who prepares the forms that you sign.

Arbitration is a big business. Arbitration firms make hefty sum of money resolving all the disputes against the Company. As you can imagine, consumers more often than not loses. And the big winner is the Company who selects the arbitration judge.

Recently, a federal appeals court has ruled that plaintiffs seeking damages against American Express over an alleged conspiracy to overcharge customers for foreign transactions cannot be forced into arbitration. The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals found that because American Express was not a signatory to other companies with mandatory arbitration agreements, the plaintiffs could not be compelled to arbitrate. The case is Ross v. American Express Co.

Read: Mark Hamblett, 11/11/2008

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Future Is Uncertain For Asbestos Plaintiffs

Sadly more than 1,000 plaintiffs with asbestos-related claims pending against Christy Refractories Co. LLC, a Missouri company, face an uncertain future following the announcement that the maker of heat-resistant products has filed for bankruptcy protection.

Plaintiffs in cases include workers exposed to asbestos in steel mills and other commercial and industrial spaces.

A bankruptcy court is expected to establish a trust fund for the suits until the company emerges from bankruptcy. Angela Tablac, St. Louis Post Dispatch 11/05/2008 Read Article: St. Louis Post Dispatch

Monday, November 03, 2008

Stricter Oversight, Harsher Penalties for Barge Industry Profiteers

In an editorial, the New Orleans Times-Picayune said hearings on the recent Mississippi River oil spill reveals that the spill resulted from "numerous violations [by] and lax oversight” of barge-industry profiteers.

Like the recent meltdown in the financial sector, barge-industry profiteers are rarely punished and enforcement is loose, leaving the public to pay the heavy cost associated with the profiteers’ bad behavior.

The editorial called for more policing and harsher penalties for violators. Editors, New Orleans Times-Picayune 11/02/2008 Read Article: New Orleans Times-Picayune