March 2010 Archives

March 28, 2010

New Mexico Dangerous Drugs - FDA Conflicts of Interest Compromise Our Safety

Recent allegations of research collaboration between the FDA's top drug official - Dr. Janet Woodcock - and a pharmaceutical company underscore the potential for conflicts of interests and the high stakes involved in drug marketing. In fact, over the years the FDA has been involved in many conflicts of interests involving dangerous drugs.

In August, 2009 Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Inc. filed an ethics complaint against Woodcock alleging that she delayed approval of Amphastar's application for approval of a generic blood thinner because of her ties to it's competitor, Momenta Pharmaceuticals, Inc.. Woodstock co-authored medical articles with Momenta while both companies were competing to win FDA approval for their generic blood thinners.

Although ultimately Woodcock was cleared, this episode shows how closely FDA officials may work with those pharmaceutical companies who seek their approval. It is crucial these contacts be disclosed. The drugs that are eventually approved by those officials are the ones that end up in our bodies. Where the motives of officials at the FDA are compromised, it is those individuals who end up taking the potentially dangerous drugs that suffer the consequences.

This is not the first time Woodcock has come under fire. From the late 1990s through the early 2000s several dangerous drugs approved by the CDER on her watch were pulled from the market because they were sickening and killing people. She has also been criticized for her handling of Avandia, a diabetes drug linked to fatal heart attacks and heart failure.

Continue reading "New Mexico Dangerous Drugs - FDA Conflicts of Interest Compromise Our Safety" »

March 22, 2010

New Mexico Car Accident Ends Tragically

In a tragic car accident this past weekend, a 19-year-old Iowa man was killed and five others critically injured when the car they were riding in overturned on westbound interstate 40 near Santa Rosa.

The five injured students were flown to the University of New Mexico Hospital with critical injuries, including possible head and brain injuries.

According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, the driver drove into the median, then overcorrected causing the 2003 Saturn to slide. The Saturn hit the median again and flipped over, ejecting 4 of the passengers. No one was wearing a seat belt.

Car crashes can happen in an instant, and can alter the course of one's life forever. One of the most serious and devastating injuries that can result from a serious car accident is a traumatic brain injury ("TBI").

A TBI is a severe blow or jolt to the head that disrupts the function of the brain. TBI's range from mild to severe. Severe injures include extended periods of unconsciousness or amnesia following the injury and can lead to short or long-term problems such as:

• Difficulty thinking
• Difficulty with language and learning
• Emotional issues

Further, TBIs have been shown to cause epilepsy and increase the risk for other conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and other brain disorders which become more common with age.

Continue reading "New Mexico Car Accident Ends Tragically" »

March 16, 2010

New Mexico Personal Injury - How Insurance Companies Strategize To Minimize Payouts On Your Claims

When accidents happen, many victims look to their insurance companies for the compensation they deserve. Unfortunately, many times those same insurance companies employ strategies to deny paying individuals the compensation rightfully due. In fact, insurers are paying out lower claims, charging higher premiums and reaping greater profits than at almost any time in history.

In some instances, insurance company strategies rise to the level of bad faith, where the company fails to honor a legitimate claim for unfair reasons. Too often bad faith occurs after you've already suffered a serious accident or injury and the insurance company's failure to pay only serves to make your bad situation, worse, in an attempt to earn a profit. Those insurers who commit bad faith often assume that their customers lack the resources or desire to fight back.

Bad faith affects all types of insurance policies, including disability, life, homeowner, automobile and accidental death.

Different strategies and insurance companies employ to minimize payouts or avoid payment altogether include:

• Denying benefits that should be paid
• Misleading an insured into entering into an agreement without the intention of
honoring claims
• Failing to promptly and thoroughly investigate a claim
• Refusing to pay full benefits
• Unreasonable delays in payment
• Interpreting the language of the insurance policy in an unreasonable and
unfavorable way
• Failing to defend a suit against the insured

Continue reading "New Mexico Personal Injury - How Insurance Companies Strategize To Minimize Payouts On Your Claims" »

March 2, 2010

New Mexico Dangerous Drugs - GlaxoSmithKline Has Duty To Warn Of Avandia Risks

The U.S. Senate Finance Committee has recently issued a report on Avandia, a controversial drug produced by GlaxoSmithKline ("GSK") to control diabetes.

According to the report, GSK knew of possible heart attack risks tied to Avandia many years before the information became public.

The report unequivocally states "GSK had a duty to sufficiently warn patients and the FDA of its concerns in a timely manner."

However, according to the report, GSK failed to warn patients and states: "GSK executives intimidated independent physicians, focused on strategies to minimize findings that Avandia may increase cardiovascular risk, and sought ways to downplay findings that the rival drug ACTOS (pioglitazone) might reduce cardiovascular risk."

This latest report reveals in great detail the length that pharmaceutical companies are willing to go to avoid revealing legitimate health risks associated with their drugs. It further exposes the widespread practice of pharmaceutical companies using supposedly "independent" scientific research to bolster their claims, when in actuality the company has sponsored the research.

Adding to the controversy, questions remain why the U.S. FDA continued to allow clinical trials of Avandia even after the agency estimated that the drug caused 83,000 heart attacks between 1999 and 2007.

In addition to heart attacks, Avandia has been linked to several significant health risks including:

• Congestive heart failure
• Liver damage
• Increased cholesterol levels
• Swelling of arms and legs
• Anemia
• Fluid retention

Continue reading "New Mexico Dangerous Drugs - GlaxoSmithKline Has Duty To Warn Of Avandia Risks " »