Opioid MDL 2804 Class Settlement: Judge Polster tells state AGs to come up with a better model

 

Their response: “The nation’s top three drug distributors—McKesson, AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health—have verbally offered a $10 billion settlement with state attorneys general, according to the news service. AGs hit back with a much higher demand of $45 billion”

By Mark A. York (August 8, 2019)

(MASS TORT NEXUS MEDIA) Opiate drugmaker stocks fell sharply after Bloomberg reported that a coalition of state attorneys general had demanded $45 billion from the three leading drug distributors in the U.S. to settle litigation over opioids.

According to Bloomberg, the counteroffer came after the distributors proposed a $10 billion settlement. The reported offers were made in negotiations between the National Association of Attorneys General andMcKesson (ticker: MCK), Cardinal Health (CAH), and AmerisourceBergen(ABC).

The report appears to be spooking investors. Shares of Cardinal were down 6.4% in afternoon trading, McKesson fell 5.9%, and AmerisourceBergen declined 6.1%.

Generic drugmakers also suffered large drops – . Teva Pharmaceutical Industries(TEVA) was down 8.7%, Mylan (MYL) was down 6.6%, and Endo International(ENDP) and Mallinckrodt (MNK)—which both released earnings Tuesday—were down 19% and 11.7%, respectively.

Those amounts appear to be far higher than investors expected. In a note Tuesday, Evercore ISI analyst Ross Muken wrote that investors he had spoken with had expected the distributors to pay $5 billion.

“Ohio Attorney General letter to Opiate MDL Judge Pollster citing caselaw”

The motion excludes state attorneys general, some of whom have brought lawsuits in state courts across the country, and sets up a procedure in which 24,500 cities, counties and other smaller governments could resolve their claims. It comes two days after Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall voluntarily dismissed the state’s case in federal court and as Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter is in the midst of the first opioid trial in the nation against manufacturer Johnson & Johnson.

Ohio AG Response

The Ohio AG wrote a letter to Federal Judge Dan Polster, where he challenged the legitimacy of the strategy pursued by private plaintiff attorneys, some of them veterans of the 1997 settlement between the states and the tobacco industry, who have signed up thousands of individual cities and counties as clients to try to pressure opioid manufacturers and distributors into a multibillion-dollar settlement. Private lawyers reaped some $14 billion in fees from the $260 billion tobacco settlement.

Yost criticized “the self-admitted power grab being made by unelected private attorneys to control the distribution of public moneys within the States.”

“The proposed negotiating class, and perhaps this very litigation, threatens the sovereignty of the States like nothing else in recent history,” he wrote. “It seeks to represent not a single political subdivision asserting parens patriae standing, but all of them. In other words, this motion seeks to permit the class to stand in the shoes of the States — nothing short of usurpation.”

Yost also criticized the allocation mechanism the lawyers have proposed. According to an “Allocation Map” the lawyers have placed online, Coshocton County, Ohio, would get $1.99 per capita or a total of $73,265 out of a $1 billion settlement, after lawyers claimed $100 million in fees.

“Distributing a few thousand dollars to local communities is meaningless.”  Ohio was among 27 states, including Texas and California, that filed a letter in June asking Judge Polster to delay any decision on a class.

See OPIOID-CRISIS-BRIEFCASE-INCLUDING-MDL-2804-OPIATE-PRESCRIPTION-LITIGATION

The motion also comes as U.S. District Judge Dan Polster of the Northern District of Ohio has pushed for global settlement talks while setting the first trial in the MDL for Oct. 21. In a brief supporting their motion a settlement class, which included 40 class representatives, including counties in California, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey and New York, and major cities such as Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

“This precise vehicle has never been used before, but we are very confident that this is a valid use of the procedure and that the court will, we are hopeful, welcome this as an opportunity to move the resolution of these cases forward,” said co-lead plaintiffs attorney Paul Hanly of Simmons Hanly Conroy in New York.

The federal litigation link is, Opiate Prescription MDL 2804, US District Court of Ohio link.

The move is also designed to provide some assurances to defendants—manufacturers and distributors of the prescription painkillers, as well as pharmacies—about the total scope of lawsuits that are out there.

The federal judge overseeing multidistrict litigation against opioid manufacturers and distributors left little doubt he supports a plan developed by private lawyers to assemble an unprecedented “negotiating class” consisting of every city and county in the U.S.

Rejecting complaints that the proposal would violate federal law and trample on states’ rights, U.S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster repeatedly said “there has to be a vehicle” for resolving the nearly 2,000 cases by cities and counties that have been concentrated in his court. Along with hundreds of lawsuits still in state court and litigation by individual states, Indian tribes and other entities such as healthcare agencies and pension funds, Judge Polster said, the mass of litigation must be settled somehow.

“Everyone knows that trying 2,500 cases would sink the state and federal judiciaries, but also the amount of private resources would also be staggering and no one would want that,” the judge told lawyers for both sides during 1.5-hour hearing in Cleveland Tuesday morning.

A majority of state attorneys general as well as defendants including drug distributors are opposed to the proposal, under which Judge Polster would certify a procedure that specifying how funds from an opioid settlement are distributed to individual counties before any money is on the table. In filings with the court in late July, Ohio AG Dave Yost called the plan a “power grab” by private lawyers who represent most of the cities and counties in the litigation.

August 6, 2019 Development

“The nation’s top three drug distributors—McKesson, AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health—have verbally offered a $10 billion settlement with state attorneys general, according to the news service. AGs hit back with a much higher demand of $45 billion”

Among other objections, critics of the plan say it would violate Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which governs class actions, and U.S. Supreme Court decisions requiring class action lawyers to fairly represent both their own clients and so-called “absent” class members who aren’t participating in settlement negotiations or may not even be aware of the litigation.

In a back-and-forth exchange with Sonja Winner, a Covington Burling attorney representing McKesson, the judge dismissed the idea the proposal might violate the most important Supreme Court precedent, Amchem v. Windsor. In that 1997 decision, the court said any class action must satisfy Rule 23 requirements, including that the claims are typical across the entire class and the interests of absent class members are represented.

Winner said the proposed mechanism for allocating money under a settlement only reaches as far as the counties, leaving cities to negotiate their share of the money with the counties that theoretically represent them in the class. The conflict between the two groups would be fatal under Amchem, she said.

“I’m not worried about the Supreme Court — the issue is what I will do,” Judge Polster responded.

“I’ve got 2,000 cases. There has to be a vehicle for solving them as a group.”

According to a calculator the plaintiff lawyers have put online, Fremont County in Wyoming would get $98,000 of a hypothetical $1 billion settlement, while the town of DuBois would get nothing because its $98 payout would fall below a $500 minimum. Winner said that was typical of the uneven results that individual cities and counties might not be aware of before they are asked to decide whether to sign off on the settlement procedure or opt out.

The judge also brushed aside objections from other AG’s, who stated that the complex allocation formula would intrude on the power of the states to allocate money among their political subdivisions as they see fit. Judge Polster said he wouldn’t approve any language undermining state sovereignty, but went on to say he also won’t approve any settlement that directs all of the money into state treasuries, as some politicians demand.

He cited the 1997 tobacco settlement, in which little of the money paid over by cigarette companies actually went toward treating smoking-related disease. He said it was a “problem” that “in a number of states any money that the state AG obtains …goes into the general fund.”

Because the litigation in his court “encompasses the cities and counties,” any settlement “has to account for the matter of putting money into state general funds,” the judge said. “Because that idea isn’t going to fly.”

Clearly Judge Polster’s views on the opioid litigation have evolved since the early days, when he envisioned a swift settlement that included significant changes in how the industry does business. He repeatedly agreed with defendant companies that they have no incentive to settle unless plaintiff lawyers can offer them global peace, and that is impossible without the participation of the states and possibly even the federal government.

“Everybody understands no defendant is going to settle with the states alone and not the cities and counties,” or vice versa, he said. “That would be lunacy.”

The judge also told critics, including defendant companies, to come up with a better solution if they don’t like the one the plaintiff lawyers have proposed.

“Nobody has a monopoly on good ideas,” he said. “The more ideas floated, the better.”

He did recognize one glaring conflict of interest in the current proposal: Some of the same lawyers, most prominently Motley Rice, represent states and hundreds of members of the proposed class of cities and counties. He barred those lawyers from participating in the hearing or arguing in favor of the proposal.

“Those lawyers have a conflict at the moment because all or most of the state attorneys general are opposing this motion,” he said.

The judge also said that if he approves the mechanism, which seemed likely from his comments, he will appoint an independent representative on behalf of the tens of thousands of cities and counties that haven’t sued but could belong in the class. He also said he would limit settlement releases to claims under federal law and would have 13 nationwide “families” of defendants.

The pharmaceutical industry spent a vast $6.4 billion in “direct-to-consumer” advertisements to hype new drugs in 2016, according tracking firm Kantar Media. That figure has gone up by 62% since 2012, Kantar Media says. This number may seem large at first but compared to the multi-billions in yearly profits just by opioid manufacturers over the last 15 years, the numbers is small.  Corporate earnings have risen every year since the push to increase opioid prescriptions in every way possible, to became an accepted business model in Big Pharma boardrooms across the country.

Opioids were involved in more than 42,000 overdose deaths in 2016, the last year for which data was available, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Kentucky, one of the nation’s hardest-hit states, lost more than 1,400 people to drug overdoses that year.

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FDA – Medical Device Reports of Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma: Who Knew and When?

A Litigation Review by Mass Tort Nexus

July 30, 2019

https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/safety-communications/fda-takes-action-protect-patients-risk-certain-textured-breast-implants-requests-allergan

By Mark A. York 

(Mass Tort Nexus Media) The  Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received a total of 573 US and global medical device reports (MDRs) of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL).

Since the FDA’s decision, the breast implant business has boomed, now exceeding $1 billion in revenue a year and projected to reach $2 billion by 2025. More than 1.6 million women worldwide received cosmetic breast implants in 2017, including an estimated 345,236 in the U.S., 235,950 in Brazil, 67,478 in Mexico and 54,045 in Italy. As of 2017, breast enlargement was the most common cosmetic surgery in the world.

Link to: FDA criminal-investigations/warning-letters/mentor-worldwide to Alex Gorsky CEO Mentor (J&J) March 18, 2019 -llc-acclarent-573520-03182019

To protect individuals from the increased risk of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), associated with Allergan BIOCELL textured breast implants, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requested that Allergan recall its BIOCELL textured breast implants and tissue expanders. Allergan agreed and is removing these products from the global market. The FDA requested that Allergan recall all BIOCELL textured breast implants and tissue expanders marketed in the U.S. based on newly submitted Medical Device Reports (MDRs) reporting worldwide cases of BIA-ALCL and BIA-ALCL-related deaths associated with these devices. Allergan has notified the FDA that it will recall its BIOCELL textured breast implants and tissue expanders from the global market.

What is the connection between textured breast implants and cancer?

Studies have shown that patients with textured implants face a higher risk of a rare form of cancer called breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA ALCL). BIA ALCL is not a breast cancer but a cancer of the immune system. Plastic surgeons have identified at least 688 cases of BIA ALCL worldwide, as of February 2019. The FDA estimates the risk of BIA ALCL among patients with textured implants as between 1 in 3,817 and 1 in 30,000, but newer data from Australia has placed the risk as high as 1 in 1,000.

While the vast majority of BIA ALCL cases occur in patients with textured implants, the FDA has identified at least 24 in patients with smooth-surfaced implants.

Breast Implants Can Cause Cancer

There is now a link between cancer and breast implants emerging in scientific and medical circles. Just recently in France, their National Cancer Institute released a study that found a “clearly established link” between Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) and breast implants. French officials have now recommended that breast implants in their country must carry a “cancer warning.”

There is also more evidence to back this connection now that a study conducted by Cambridge University in the UK found that nearly all cases of ALCL were discovered in women who had breast implants.

When you think about how breast implants are inserted — indeed it is quite gory and gruesome surgery — and about the horrific chemicals they are comprised of, it makes sense that they would, of course, pose a cancer risk. And now we have the data to support this.

The primary makers of breast implants approved for use in the United States include:

Allergan, Inc.

Ideal Implant, Inc.

Mentor World Wide, LLC (Johnson & Johnson)

Sientra, Inc.

 

Melissa Shirley vs. Mentor Worldwide (J&J) Complaint USDC ND Georgia (May 15, 2017)

 Silicone Breast Implant Lawsuit Not Preempted, Case to Proceed USDC ND Illinois Ruling

As of July 6, 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received a total of 573 US and global medical device reports (MDRs) of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). This total includes all MDRs the FDA received with any mention of “ALCL” or other spelling variations (for example, “anaplastic lymphoma,” or “anaplastic”) in the event narrative. BIA-ALCL MDRs are counted for those reporting a diagnosis or treatment of ALCL, or confirmed pathology/cytology test, or Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase (ALK) and CD30 biomarkers.

The tables below summarize unique BIA-ALCL MDR data from the U.S. and worldwide that the FDA has received as of July 6, 2019.

Table 1: Summary of US and Global Deaths Reported in MDRs Received as of July 6th, 2019 (N = 33)

https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/breast-implants/medical-device-reports-breast-implant-associated-anaplastic-large-cell-lymphoma

These data are a tabulation of global deaths reported in MDRs and literature reported as MDRs submitted to the FDA.  We excluded apparent duplicates. The data is stratified by factors that we considered in our analysis.

ALCL Deaths from MDRs and Literature reported as MDRs* Deaths through 7/6/29 (n=33)
n %a
Age at time of diagnosis (years) Median 52
Range 37-83
Not specified (# of reports) 13 39
Time from the last implant to diagnosis (years) Median 9
Range 1-20
Not specified (# of reports) 23 70
Implant Surface Textured 15 48
Smooth* history of textured 1 3
Not specified 17 48
Implant Fill Silicone 14 42
Saline 8 24
Not specified 11 33
Reason for Implant Reconstruction 5 15
Augmentation 17 52
Not specified 11 33
Clinical presentation (breast)b Seroma 6 18
Breast swelling/pain 3 9
Capsular contracture 1 3
Peri-implant mass/lump 13 39
Others 7 21
Not specified 7 21
Anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) Positive 0  0
Negative 12 36
Not specified 21 64
CD30 Statusc Positive 12 36
Negative 0 0
Not specified 21 64
Implant manufacturer Allergan 12 36
Mentor 1 3
Unknown 20 61
Reporter country: US or OUSd US 12 36
OUS 21 64
Not specified 0 0

a Percentage in terms of the total 33 deaths. There are no reports of deaths associated with tissue expanders.
b MDRs sometimes list more than one clinical presentation, e.g. seroma and peri-implant mass/lump, in which two presentations were counted.
c CD30 is a cell membrane protein associated with diagnosis of classic Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and BIA-ALCL.
d US/OUS is counted as the country reported in the narrative or the recorded reporter’s country in the MedWatch form.
* Includes 1 case of B-Cell Lymphoma

Table 2: Summary of US and Global Data as of July 6, 2019 (N=573)

These data are a tabulation of US and global BI-ALCL cases reported to the FDA in MDRs.  We excluded apparent duplicates.  The data is stratified by factors we considered in our analysis.

Unique ALCL cases1 Cases through 9/30/18
(n=457)
Cases through 7/6/19
(n=573)
n %a n %b
Age at time of diagnosis (years) Median 53 53
Range 27-90 27-90
Not specified (# of reports) 111 24 161 28
Time from the last implant to diagnosis (years) Median 9 8
Range 0-34 0-34
Not specified (# of reports) 110 24 169 29
Implant surface Textured 310 68 385 67
Smooth 24 5 26c 5
Not specified 123 27 162 28
Implant fill Silicone 274 60 343 60
Saline 183 40 197 34
Not specified 0 0 33 6
Reason for implant Reconstruction 108 24 115 20
Augmentation 104 23 111 19
Not specified 245 54 347 61
Clinical presentation (breast)d Seroma 266 58 302 53
Breast swelling/pain 135 30 150 26
Capsular contracture 69 15 73 13
Peri-implant mass/lump 82 18 94 16
Others 43 9 56 10
Not specified 105 23 147 26
Anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) Positive 0  0 0 0
Negative 229 50 255 45
Not specified 228 50 318 55
CD30 statuse Positive 215 47 246 43
Negative 0  0 0 0
Not specified 242 53 327 57
Implant manufacturer Allergan* includes McGhan, Inamed 386 84 481 84
Mentor 36 8 38 7
Sientra 2 0.4 6 1
Other Manufacturerf 5 1 6 1
Unknown Manufacturer 28 6 42 7
Reporter country: US or OUSg US 276 48 320 56
OUS 181 32 253 44
Not specified 0 0 0 0

1Patients with bilateral BIA-ALCL are counted as 2 cases of BIA-ALCL.
a Percentage in terms of the total 457 MDRs.
b Percentage in terms of the total 573 MDRs.
c In the 26 cases of smooth implants, 12 have unknown prior history of implants, 7 have a history of textured implants, and 7 have a history of prior implants with an unknown texture. There are no reports of cases associated with tissue expanders.
d MDRs sometimes list more than one clinical presentation, e.g., seroma and peri-implant mass/lump, in which two presentations were counted.
e CD30 is a cell membrane protein associated with diagnosis of classic Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and BIA-ALCL.
f Other Manufacturers include: Bristol Myers Squib, Nagor, Polytech Silimed, Silimed and Sientra/Silimed
g US/OUS is counted as the recorded reporter’s country in the MedWatch form, or if the event was noted to be from a foreign source in box G3 of the MedWatch form. Please note that the reporter country may not reflect the country where the event occurred or the country where the device is marketed.

History of Adverse Events Has Been Known 

The FDA has  coordinated with the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the Plastic Surgeons Foundation to develop the Patient Registry and Outcomes for Breast Implants and Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) Etiology and Epidemiology (PROFILE), which collects real world data regarding patients who have a confirmed diagnosis of BIA-ALCL. The data collected from this registry, have contributed to a better understanding of BIA-ALCL and FDA communication updates to the public regarding BIA-ALCL.

According to a complex analysis of FDA adverse event data, the number of suspected breast implant injuries jumped from an average of fewer than 200 a year through 2016, before the FDA’s more rigorous reporting rules, to 4,567 events in 2017 and at least 8,242 in the first half of 2018. More than 10 million women worldwide have received breast implants over the last decade, a remarkable comeback for a medical product that had suffered a crippling safety scandal and a lengthy ban in the United States.

The agency was aware of the true number of reported injuries but did not disclose them until recently. In Europe, some manufacturers have avoided reporting ruptures altogether, Dutch regulators were told. This was discovered during the  International Consortium of Investigative Journalists long term investigation titled, Implant Files investigation , which revealed the ongoing health problems plaguing many thousands of women with breast implants as part of its global research project that was released in November 2018.

Experts worldwide agree that more long-term studies are desperately needed, but neither Allergan nor Johnson & Johnson’s Mentor completed the studies of 40,000 women ordered by the FDA.  After two years, about 40 percent of the participants in the breast augmentation section of the Allergan study had dropped out; after three years, Mentor had lost about 80 percent of its breast augmentation study subjects.

The FDA now says that although it does not have evidence to support a link between breast implants and systemic illness, safety studies “would need to be much larger and longer than those conducted so far” to clearly rule out an association. Allergan and Mentor faced no consequences for failing to complete the mandatory studies.

In September 2018, researchers at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston reported the results of the largest-ever long-term safety study of breast implants. The study found associations between silicone implants and three autoimmune diseases. In the same month, an Israeli study of tens of thousands of women also discovered a link between breast implants and autoimmune diseases. Several smaller studies conducted in recent years in the Netherlands and the U.S., reached similar conclusions.

In March 2017, the FDA issued a breast implant cancer warning, indicating that it was aware of at least 359 medical device reports involving women diagnosed with a rare form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, known as breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). The illness has been linked to at least nine deaths.

The agency indicated at the time that the lymphoma cases appeared to be more common among breast implants with textured surfaces, as opposed to smooth breast implants, but a definitive connection was not able to be made.

Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) launched an effort monitor the association between breast implants and anaplastic large cell lymphoma, more than doubling the recognized number of cases identified among Australian patients between September 2016 and April 2017.

Researchers from the TGA published a study in May indicating that side effects of textured breast implants may be linked to a 14 times higher risk of ALCL in some cases.

The TGA has estimated that the breast implant lymphoma risk may be between 1-in-1,000 and 1-in-10,000, with most cases occurring between 3 and 14 years after implant, but the median being 8 years and some cases diagnosed as much as 37 years after breast surgery,

Due to the potential lymphoma risk with breast implants, regulators have made efforts to increase awareness among health care providers about cases of the rare cancer linked to textured breast implants, indicating that they should discuss the benefits and side effects of the implants with their patients.

The FDA has also recommended that doctors consider the possibility that a breast implant recipient is suffering from anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) when they present with late, onset, persistent peri-implant seroma.

Each year in the United States more than 300,000 women and undergo breast augmentation, with the total number of breast implants procedures each year being  anywhere between 5 to 10 million around the world.

Before the operations women are often told by their surgeons that it is a safe procedure with “very little” risk, with the . FDA generally supporting that incorrect statement, by offering that “breast implants are relatively safe” which is now being shown to be very inaccurate.

There is a growing body of evidence, now supported by  thousands of examples of adverse events from women all over the world who have had implants. Facts are emerging that breast implants have been and continue to cause  debilitating autoimmune disorders  as well as emerging evidence of links to certain types of cancer.

No implant on the market today can last a lifetime. Every type is prone to leaking and rupturing, and instance, the saline valve implants, can even become black with mold, causing a systemic fungal problem in a person’s body.

Breast implant lawsuits are underway as of October 2016. In March 2017, the FDA issued a warning confirming that breast implants cause ALCL cancer. Lawsuits for ladies with BIA-ALCL are currently being organized. In April 2017, a bipartisan bill called the Medical Device Safety Act H.R. 2164 was introduced and needs your help in being passed to hold the manufacturers accountable for the harm they have caused. In January 2018, a Mentor MemoryGel Silicone Breast Implant case was able to in part pass preemption.

Background:

In the early 2000s, Allergan and Mentor were approved for premarket Investigational Device Exempt (IDE) studies where a limited number of plastic surgeons were allowed to use silicone breast implants, accordingly they were supposed to inform women of the study and follow up on them. In November 2006, Mentor and Allergan silicone breast implants were conditionally approved and six postmarket studies were to be conducted, see Mentor Approval Order and Allergan (formerly Inamed) Approval Order. The manufacturer premarket and postmarket studies have overall failed to follow up on women and provide real statistics on health problems that arise.

Presently, in 2018, there are over 50,000 women in breast implant illness Facebook support groups. Similar to the Dow times, the manufacturers have again pushed a campaign marketing the safety and inertness of implants rather than disclosing the truth of lack of real statistics and follow ups, the adjuvant immunologic effects of silicone, and the numerous heavy metals and chemicals used in manufacturing. With the lack of awareness on the matter, there is currently a public health crisis as the medical community at large has failed to help women identify breast implants as playing a role in their symptoms and has led to many misdiagnoses, unnecessary medications and treatments, and body parts being removed (thyroid, gall bladder, uterus, etc.). History is repeating itself and the manufacturers need to be held accountable for the alleged lack of informed consent and toxicity caused by saline and silicone breast implants.

Current Breast Implant Lawsuits:

Silicone

  • Weber v. Allergan (2012)
  • Ebrahimi v. Mentor (2016)
  • Mize v. Mentor Nguyen v. Mentor (Spouse Plaintiff) (2017)
  • Gravitt v. Mentor Gravitt v. Mentor (Spouse Plaintiff) (2017)
  • Skelton v. Allergan – BIA-ALCL (2018)
  • Cashen v. Mentor | Cashen v. Mentor (Spouse Plaintiff) – BIA-ALCL (2018)
  • Rea v. Allergan – BIA-ALCL (2018)
  • Vieira et al v. Mentor Worldwide, LLC et al (2018)
  • Sewell et al v. Mentor (2018)

Saline

  • Laux v. Mentor (2015)
  • Allergan Saline Lawsuits (2016)

Mentor Silicone Breast Implant Lawsuits:

Lawsuit Filed Against Mentor Worldwide Over Mentor MemoryGel Silicone Breast Implants 

(September 28, 2016)

A Seattle woman, Sara Ebrahimi, has filed suit against Mentor Worldwide LLC and its parent company, Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc., alleging the defective manufacturing of Mentor MemoryGel™ Silicone Breast Implants. The lawsuit alleges that Mentor and its parent company, Johnson & Johnson, repeatedly failed to follow the requirements imposed by the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) in connection with the approval of Mentor’s premarket approval application. It is further alleged that the companies failed to warn the FDA and women receiving the implants of the devices’ known dangerous propensities. The lawsuit — Ebrahimi v. Mentor Worldwide LLC, et al. (case no. 2:16-cv-07316-DMG) — was filed in the Central District of California in Los Angeles, where Mentor is headquartered.

Mentor develops, manufactures, and markets products for surgical and non-surgical procedures, including Mentor MemoryGel™ Silicone Breast ImplantsThe lawsuit alleges that chemicals Mentor used in the manufacturing process bled through the implants, and into Ms. Ebrahimi’s body, causing her to suffer serious medical problems. It is alleged that Mentor and Johnson & Johnson knew that their devices were defective, yet allowed them to be surgically implanted in Ms. Ebrahimi and other unsuspecting women. It is further alleged that Mentor and Johnson & Johnson failed to warn the FDA of these risks by not providing adequate follow-through studies.

Mentor MemoryGel™ Silicone Breast Implants are regulated medical devices under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act that require FDA approval. As a condition of approval, the FDA required that Mentor conduct six post-approval studies to demonstrate, over time, that its silicone implants were safe and effective. The lawsuit alleges that Mentor failed to design effective studies and, as a result, failed to provide the FDA with the longitudinal studies that were required as a condition to the devices’ approval. It is alleged that:

It was Mentor’s obligation to design and execute a study where women were able to access internet forms that are easily understood and provide a working forum to report their experience with implants. Mentor intentionally and systematically failed to make this happen which is a violation of the FDA’s conditions for approval. Data collection was sparse and potential serious side effects and harmful complications were downplayed and under-reported due to inadequate sample size.

This lawsuit influenced a new wave of breast implant litigation. Its research and structure are being used as a model being replicated by the following lawsuits below.

Rexina Mize, et al. v. Mentor Worldwide LLC

(February 2nd, 2017)

The case is Mize v. Mentor Worldwide LLC, No. BC-649083, California Superior Court (Los Angeles). In March 2017, the case was transferred and reassigned to the federal judge handling Ebrahimi v. Mentor and the case number was changed to CV 17-1747 DMG (KSx). In August 2017, the case was remanded back to state court.

Her husband, Spouse Plaintiff Minh Nguyen, is also suing Mentor on loss of consortium.

From the article, Johnson & Johnson Unit Sued Over Leaking Breast Implants:

Catherine Gravitt, et al. v. Mentor Worldwide LLC

(July 25th, 2017)

The case is Gravitt et al v. Mentor Worldwide LLC, No. 1:2017cv05428, Illinois Northern District Court (Chicago). Catherine Gravitt and her husband Travis Gravitt are the plaintiffs who filed against Mentor, see Complaint. She was implanted with textured Mentor MemoryGel Silicone Breast Implants in 2010 and in 2016 she discovered a rupture. Health complications included abnormal thyroid levels, swollen lymph nodes, severe and random skin rashes, blackouts and periods of disorientation, extreme fatigue and weakness, muscle soreness, frequent flu like symptoms, anxiety, depression, and more. Additionally it is alleged she gave birth to a son and daughter who both developed defects related to the toxic materials leaking from her breast implants. See the docket and the news article, “Couple’s lawsuit faults California breast implant maker.

In January 2018, U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman allowed the case to in part pass federal preemption, see Memorandum Opinion and Order. This is a significant court ruling for all breast implant cases. See the news article, “Mentor Silicone Breast Implant Lawsuit Not Preempted, Cleared To Proceed: Judge.”

Renee Cashen, et. al v. Mentor Worldwide LLC, Ethicon, and Johnson & Johnson 

(April 27th, 2018)

The case is Cashen et al v. Mentor Worldwide LLC, filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey. Renee Cashen and her husband Richard Cashen are plaintiffs. In February 2008, she was implanted with textured Mentor MemoryGel Siltex Round Moderate Gel Breast Implants. After implantation, she was discharged from the post-market study she had been enrolled in. In 2016, she noticed a lump under her right armpit. A month later a biopsy was done and ALCL was discovered but it took several weeks later until her doctors associated it with her Mentor breast implants. In May 2016, Mrs. Cashen had explant surgery and six lymph nodes removed. In July 2017, she began chemotherapy treatments. The Defendants allegedly failed to comply with their post-approval surveillance obligation.

They are represented by Ross Feller Casey, LLP and McEldrew Young, both in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Vieira et al v. Mentor Worldwide, LLC et al

(June 27th, 2018)

Nicole Vieira and Emilia Barozzi filed complaints in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Case No. BC711663. Plaintiffs were implanted with Mentor MemoryGel Silicone Breast Implants and afterwards they “experienced various medical complications, including fatigue, weakness, memory loss, and nausea.” After explantation it was discovered that the implants’ silicone gel had bled. The complaint alleges mistakes in Mentor’s manufacturing of the implants and defects in the silicone used. These resulted in silicone gel to bleed and therefore triggered the medical complications.

In July the case was moved to Federal Court, Case No. 2:18-cv-06502, and in September it was remanded back to Los Angeles Superior Court.

Allergan Silicone Breast Implant Lawsuits:

Nicole Weber v. Allergan No. 13-17017 (9th Circuit 2015)

The case was filed in 2012 and is moving to trial in early 2018.

“Weber appealed the district court’s dismissal of Weber’s diversity action brought against Allergan Inc, asserting strict product liability and negligence, and alleging that Allergan’s Natrelle Style 20 [silicone] breast implants are dangerous.” (Sept 21, 2015). See youtube video on her 9th Circuit court hearing. (The opposing attorney talks at 37:00)

Her amended claim was found to adequately state parallel state law claims (Oct. 23, 2015).

“Weber has identified to the extent possible without discovery, the standards she believes the manufacture of her implants violated, adequately stating parallel state-law claims.” the court said.

Vivian Skelton v. Allergan – BIA-ALCL

The case was filed as Skelton v. Allergan, No. BC696400 in Los Angeles County Superior Court. It was transferred to California Central District Court and the case number was changed to 2:18-cv-02617. She was diagnosed with breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma, this is an Allergan BIA-ALCL Lawsuit.

Rhea v. Allergan – BIA-ALCL

(May 8th, 2018)

Michele Rea and Carl Rea from Fairfax, Virginia filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey in May 2018, see case here.

From Ross Feller Casey in ‘Another Lawsuit Alleges Breast Implants Cause A Rare Cancer‘:

Rea underwent reconstructive surgery for a partial mastectomy in 2011. About five years later, she was diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma, which was caused by a Natrelle Style 410 [highly cohesive silicone gel] implant made by Allergan, Inc., the suit alleges.

Allergan Saline Lawsuits:

In Jacksonville, Florida, the law firm of Terrell Hogan is filing hundreds of lawsuits against two local plastic surgeons – Dr. Loren Clayman and Dr. Mark Clayman. There are also allegations of fraud, as well as a lawsuit against Allergan.

“I represent about 150 women,” said Attorney Chris Shakib.

Shakib, the lead attorney in the case, called his findings unbelievable.

For further information, see articles on this here (June 1st, 2016) and here (November 29th, 2016).

Mentor Saline Lawsuits:

Anita Laux v. Mentor Worldwide LLC

(December 29, 2015)

The case is Laux v. Mentor Worldwide LLC, No. 2:16-cv-01026-ODW(AGR), filed in Ventura County Superior Court and moved to federal court. She is represented by Robert A. Zeman (Law Offices of Robert A. Zeman) and Alan C. Milstein (Sherman Silverstein Kohl Rose and Podolsky).

Breast implants are categorized as Class III medical devices (along with hip implants, pacemakers, cardiac stents, etc) and are very difficult to sue due to the 2008 Supreme Court case, Riegel v Medtronic which gave broad federal protection to manufacturers. To sue a manufacturer, one would need a product liability case and these are generally governed by state laws under theories of negligence, strict liability, and breach of warranty. The Supreme Court ruling with Riegel created a precedent for preemption of state laws, essentially citing that Class III medical devices are solely accountable to the regulations and surveillance of the FDA. After Riegel, the only way to sue is to assert parallel state law claims where one must prove the manufacturer deviated from a guideline they were approved by (a violation of a federal requirement, such as a FDA guideline), the violation of an identical state law, and how that violation of that federal requirement caused injury.

BIA-ALCL

Breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) is a cancer of the immune system caused by breast implants. It is generally found in fluid collection in between the implant and capsule, in a seroma, or in a nodule in the capsule. Physical signs are effusion, swelling, pain, inflammation, mass, ulceration, and others. The overwhelming symptoms in a majority of patients is a delayed seroma, persistent swelling, and pain. While even more rare some patients may present skin changes, lymphadenopathy, capsular contracture, or a potentially palpable mass.1 CD30 is the diagnostic test being used to distinguish ALCL. It is found to occur at a much higher rate in textured breast implants, however there have been some smooth surfaced breast implant cases as well.

Risks:

“[S]tudies reported in medical literature estimate that the lifetime risk of developing BIA-ALCL for patients with textured breast implants ranges from 1 in 3,817 to 1 in 30,000.” – FDA Update 3/21/18

Medical Device Reports (FDA)

Update: As of July 2017, Dr. Mark Clemens states that worldwide there have been 464 adverse event reports in relation to BIA-ALCL and 12 deaths. See PSEN Breast Implant Associated Anapestic Large Cell Lymphoma.

As of February 2017, the FDA has received a total of 359 medical device reports (MDRs) of breast-implant-associated ALCL, including nine deaths. Out of those 359 total reports, only 64% (231 reports) listed data on the surface at the time of reporting:

  • 87% (203 out of the 231 report) were with textured surfaces
  • 12% (28 out of the 231 reports) were with smooth surfaces

Although it is rare, breast-implant-associated ALCL appears to develop more frequently in women with textured implants than in women with smooth-surfaced implants.

Sample of the FDA Adverse Event Reports on BIA-ALCL:

Note: Parentheses represent redacted information to protect privacy.

  1. Company rep reported right side anaplastic large-cell lymphoma and “subcutaneous nodules and lymph nodes. ” the pt had a bilateral reconstruction seven years ago with style 410 breast implant placed on the left side and a style 115 placed on the right side. The pt had done well until she presented last week with a pathology report from her oncologist stating that she had alcl. The pt stated that she had nodules on the right axilla. A pet scan was carried out that showed metastasis in the lung and bone marrow involvement. No seroma was noted. The oncologist has decided on her treatment plan to exclude radiation. Explant surgery will take place (b)(6) 2013. (Reported in 2013, Allergan silicone) Link.
  2. Anaplastic large cell lymphoma of the breast arising around mammary implant capsule: an (b)(6) report written in aesthetic plastic surgery 2013 reports alcl, seroma, pain. Additional information noted in article anaplastic large cell lymphoma of the breast arising around mammary implant capsule: an italian report written in aesthetic plastic surgery 2013 article notes in regards to the right side, “necrosis and chronic inflammation signs are present” and “skin above the implant became red and painful and the patient had febrile episodes. ” treatment noted for the event of seroma as “a broad-spectrum antibiotic. ” (Reported in 2013, Allergan silicone) Link.
  3. Healthcare professional reports a case of lymphoma and other b-symptoms via mw (b)(4) the mw notes that: “the reporter called on behalf of a pt who was diagnosed with alcl. The pt presented with anaplastic large cell lymphoma, diagnosed in 2013. History of hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosed in 2011. These two events came about after the pt underwent breast augmentation in 1994. In 2010, pt presented with an abnormal mammogram performed in 2010. Breast pain, skin color change, skin texture change, and inflowing diffusion form the right breast up to right neck and shoulder. The pt was running a fever throughout the entire process. After an mri and subsequent test, the pt was diagnosed with hodgkin’s lymphoma and underwent mantle radiation. In 2012, the pt underwent surgery essentially for a breast mass, but the pt also desired a mastectomy for removal of right and left implants and capsules. The pathology of the operation soon reported that the pt also has alcl; the mass had come from the lymphoma. ” (Reported in 2013, Allergan saline) Link.
  4. Pt is a female who underwent left mastectomy in 1996, for ductal carcinoma in situ with tissue expanders and saline implant reconstruction. She presented in 2010, with a peri-implant hematoma, though possibly post-traumatic. She underwent evacuation of the hematoma and change to a silicone gel implant. All pathology specimens were negative for tumor. She again presented in 2012, with a spontaneous hematoma and at surgery multiple biopsies revealed anaplastic large cell lymphoma (alcl) limited to the periprosthetic capsule and hematoma fluid. After an extensive hematologic and metastatic workup which was negative, she underwent removal of the implant and total periprosthetic capsulectomy. Capsular pathology showed alcl. (Reported in 2012, Mentor silicone) Link.
  5. On (b)(6) 2010, diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma (alcl) alk-negative. Possibly related or caused by breast implants received in (b)(6) 2002 for augmentation. Experienced complications with left implant diagnosed as capsular contraction. Implant replaced on (b)(6) 2008. Still experiencing capsular contraction after replacement. (b)(6) 2010 – (b)(6) 2011: received 12 doses of chemotherapy, received 20 doses of radiation therapy. Preparing for stem cell transplant scheduled for (b)(6) 2011. (b)(6) 2010: needle biopsy – diagnosis lymphoma. (b)(6) 2010: surgical biopsy – diagnosis alcl. (b)(6) 2010: surgical biopsy – diagnosis alcl. (Reported in 2011, Allergan saline) Link.
  6. The original purchase date of this device was (b)(6)2004. In (b)(6) 2006, the pt was implanted with mentor siltex saline devices during a revision augmentation procedure. In (b)(6) 2008, the devices were replaced with mentor smooth saline devices due to a left device deflation. In (b)(6) 2010, the pt had both implants removed due to recurring fluid accumulation in the right breast. On (b)(6)2010, the pt was diagnosed with alcl (t-cell lymphoma). No further info is available at this time. (Reported in 2010, Mentor saline) Link.
  7. It was reported by a physician that a (b)(6) year old female patient was diagnosed with alcl on (b)(6) 2017. This patient’s medical history includes diagnosis of left breast invasive ductal carcinoma in (b)(6) 2015. She underwent bilateral mastectomy and bilateral tissue expander placement in (b)(6) 2015. The patient had mentor tissue expanders that were implanted from (b)(6) 2015. The patient then had mentor memory shape low high moderate plus profile breast implants (catalog #334-1507, r. Side serial # (b)(4)) implanted in (b)(6) 2015. On (b)(6) 2017, the patient experienced a large right breast effusion that developed over 24-48 hours. The effusion was aspirated and tested using flow cytometry and cd30 ihc and came back positive for bia-alcl on (b)(6) 2017. The time between patient signs/symptoms of peri-implant alcl to definitive diagnosis was 1 week. The patient did not have any complications such as infection, hematoma, or implant rotation during implant course prior to alcl diagnosis. The patient did not experience skin lesions, fevers, night sweats or weight loss. There was no pain, redness, palpable breast mass, or capsular contracture. The lymphoma cells were found in the seroma fluid surrounding the implant. Immunohistochemical and flow cytometry testing showed alk negative and cd30 positive results. This is a pathologically confirmed stage ie primary diagnosis of alcl. Based on histology, there is no capsular involvement. The lymphoma cells were found in the effusion fluid surrounding the implant. The patient underwent bilateral implant removal and capsulectomies with no implant replacement on (b)(6) 2017. The implants were intact and not ruptured upon removal. (Reported in 2017, Mentor Memory Shape Silicone) Link.

Above is only a sample of six reports to the FDA. As of July 2017, Dr. Mark Clemens states the FDA has received 464 adverse event reports in relation to BIA-ALCL and 12 deaths. Join the Facebook group ALCL in Women with Breast Implants BIA-ALCL to view reports by country.

BIA-ALCL Causation Theories:

The cause is still unknown but is actively being studied. Some researchers have theorized that biofilm contributes to lymphoma and others have thought the chemicals in the implants irritate the immune system. Both theories rely on the presence of persistent inflammation, which means chronic activation of immune cells and particularly the T lymphocytes, which are white blood cells involved with ALCL.

Throughout the body, there are many diverse populations of bacteria that are both beneficial and harmful. In recent years, there has been an increased focus in characterizing bacteria and analyzing patterns of bacteria to understand the possible correlation between normal versus infectious/cancerous scenarios – especially in relation to breast cancer. What has been discovered is that similar to how the gut has its own microbiome of good and bad bacteria, the normal breast tissue and human milk also have their own microbiology that over time is influenced by factors such as dietary and sugar changes. The article “Microbiota of the Human Breast Tissue” delves into the various specific bacteria that were found in human breasts. Since breasts are not sterile, if a foreign object is placed inside the body, it will be colonized and infected.

Biofilm is bacteria that adheres to the surfaces of medical devices. It can result in a low grade chronic bacterial infection, chronic inflammation, and capsular contracture. Some bacteria produce acid as they grow and this reduces the pH of the surrounding environment. In the closed off space between the surface of the implant and the inner capsule surface, the bacteria coating the implant could form an acidic environment that contributes potentially to the breakdown of silicone. Australian researchers found that biofilm from capsular contracture cases was different from the biofilm identified on 26 implants from lymphoma patients. This brings biolfim to light as “a possible infectious contributing cause” for the lymphoma.

The chemicals used in the manufacturing process, which are neurotoxic and carcinogenic, are also believed to be playing a role in the development of lymphoma. The majority of ALCL cases have been found with textured implants, the roughness of the surface is triggering chronic inflammation. Textured implants were designed to keep the implants in place, thus, the capsules embed themselves on and around the textured surface. This creates an intimate, hand in hand connection between the scar tissue and chemically abrasive textured surface. Over time, this can lead to a direct abrasive irritation of the immune system, significantly affecting T cells.

It is interesting to note the connection between polyurethane coated implants and textured implants. Polyurethane coated implants were the first type of breast implant linked to cancer, and textured implants have now become the second type of breast implant linked to cancer – what they both have in common is a chemically abrasive fuzzy surface. Polyurethane implants were in production from about 1980 to when the manufacturer voluntarily withdrew them in 1991 due to significant safety concerns. These implants were the precursors to the textured breast implants since the textured surface was thought to be important in reducing capsular contracture and firmness, but the implant manufacturers could not use polyurethane so instead they created the textured surface currently manufactured today (since the mid-1990’s). This textured surface is also linked to an increased occurrence of forming double capsules (scar tissue surrounding the implants) and seromas, thereby going against its intended purpose.1,2

Protocol: 

In October 2017, a study published in the medical journal JAMA Surgery warned that many breast implant cancer case worldwide were probably not reported, and noted that doctors and patients may not be aware the ACCL risks. As more information becomes public about the breast implant cancer cases, experts have warned that the number of cases reported will likely increase significantly.

BIA-ALCL and Mammograms:

There have been cases reported in the BIA-ALCL FB Support Group where mammograms have triggered breast swelling and led to BIA-ALCL diagnoses.

Resources:

Government Health Agencies and Other Sources

Science and Medical: 

Please see the Scientific Articles page for over 200+ references to breast implant related scientific articles. They are organized into eight categories: 1. General, 2. Researchers, 3. Saline Implants & Mold, 4. Ruptured Silicone Implants, 5. Biofilm & Infections, 6. Breast Feeding with Implants and Effects on Children, 7. Biomaterials, and 8. ALCL (cancer).

Current Experts:

Dr. Pierre Blais (chemist and biocompatibility expert – Canada), Dr. Arthur Brawer (rheumatologist and silicone toxicity expert – Long Branch, NJ), Dr. Yehuda Shoenfeld (physician and autoimmunity researcher – Israel), Dr. Cohen Tervaert (rheumatologist – Edmonton, Canada), Dr. Henry Dijkman (pathologist – Netherlands), Dr. Diana Zuckerman (President of National Center of Health Research), Dr. Sarah Myhill (UK), Dr. Lu-Jean Feng (plastic surgeon – Cleveland, OH), Dr. Victor Urzola (plastic surgeon – Costa Rica), Dr. H. Jae Chun (plastic surgeon – Newport Beach, CA), Dr. Matthew G. Stanwix (plastic surgeon – Henrico, VA), Dr. Susan Kolb (plastic surgeon – Atlanta, GA), Dr. Edward Melmed (plastic surgeon – Dallas, TX), Dr. Rita Kappel (plastic surgeon – Netherlands), Dr. Michael Harbut (environmental medicine specialist – Detroit, MI), Dr. S V Maharaj (silicone breast implants and platinum expert). See here for some of their publications.

Educational Links:

What You Need to Know About Breast Implants (National Center For Health Research)

Breast Implant Illnesses: What’s the Evidence? (National Center For Health Research)

Safety – Junk Science, ‘New’ Cohesive Gel, and Toxicity for Silicone and Saline Implants

Breast Implants and Cancer (BIA-ALCL) and BIAALCL.com

Dr. Myhill –

Silicone Breast Implants and Injections

Chemical Poisoning – Diagnosis

Detoxification

Dr. Urzola –

Breast Implant Illness

“Over the past year and 8 months I have learned and researched a lot about this condition. After explanting over 100 patients and seeing the extraordinary post operative reports with over 85% of patients reporting complete remission of their symptoms or at least an important improvement, we are committed to starting a scientific investigation with the purpose of validating BII as a syndrome and getting the medical community to recognize it as a problem affecting thousands of women around the world.” (2017)

Dr. Feng –

Breast Implant Removal: Basics I

Topic: Linda L. Haas, Feng Clinic CEO, answers basic scheduling questions from patients who have just started researching breast implant removal. Videos: Part I and Part II.

Breast Implant Removal: Basics II

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Note: (Excerpts within this article include other online media sources)

____________________________________________________________________________

Additional Resources On Breast Implant Complications and Adverse Events

Topics: pathology, mold/microorganisms, detoxification, coinfections/diseases, selecting a surgeon, silicone vs. saline, capsule removal, lymph node removal, hormones and symptoms of BII. Videoand Transcript.

Breast Implant Removal: Basics III

Topics: the aesthetics of the breast, muscle repair, mastopexies or breast lifts, fat transfer and who is a candidate. Video and Transcript.

Breast Implant Removal IV: Detoxification

Topic: An in-depth discussion of detoxification before and after breast implant removal. Video.

Will I recover from breast implant illness without lymph node removal? (Video)

Is There A Connection Between Lyme Disease and Breast Implant Illness? (Video)

MTHFR and breast implants (Video)

Dr. Feng Webinars I-IV and YouTube Channel

Research articles and studies

Dr. Chun –

“Many patients suffer from BII(Breast Implant Illness) from their saline or silicone breast implants.” – Dr. Chun’s Breast Implant Removal Page

YouTube Channel – with videos on explantation, ruptured implants, difficulty associated with detecting ruptured silicone, and an en bloc capsulectomy explant (graphic).

Instagram where you can see Dr. Chun’s meticulous skill and expertise in doing perfect en bloc explants.

FDA Testimony

Dr. Kolb –

If something is of use to women affected by breast implant illness, it will be provided on this website regardless of politics.

Doctors, are you listening?

Immune Protocol

Silicone Immune Treatment Protocol

Inositol for Silicone Detoxification Provided by Dr. Douglas Shanklin

Videos: Dr. Susan Kolb discusses silicone breast implants and saline breast implants

Book: The Naked Truth About Breast Implants: From Harm to Healing

Note: There are currently four pending medical malpractice lawsuits filed against this plastic surgeon.

Dr. Blais –

Breast Feeding

Truth on ‘Cohesive’ Gel Implant

Technology and composition of silicone breast implants

How do implants rupture and cause injury

Testimony to the FDA (2000) 

All articles on breast implants by Dr. Pierre Blais, click here. Topics include: rupture, cancer, breast feeding, polyurethane, saline implants, cohesive gel, explant problems etc.

Dr. Blais is a chemist and expert in the biocompatibility of implant materials. He has been analyzing breast implants and conducting breast implant failure analyses for over 40+ years. There is currently a backlog due to the high demand and he is not accepting any new breast implants. Dr. Blais is a significant resource, he is a wealth of information on most breast implant matters.

Dr. Brawer –

Case Report: Silicone is not fun in the sun (2018)

ASIA vs. the mechanisms of silicone toxicity (2017)

Vague Syndromes (2017)

Mechanisms of Breast Implant Toxicity (2017)

Autoinflammatory Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants (ASIA) Syndrome is Misguided (2017)

Destiny rides again: the reappearance of silicone gel-filled breast implant toxicity (2017)

Breast Implant Toxicity (2016)

Bones, Groans, and Silicone (2012)

Amelioration of Systemic Disease after Removal of Silicone Gel-filled Breast Implants (2000)

Silicon and matrix macromolecules: new research opportunities for old diseases from analysis of potential mechanisms of breast implant toxicity (1998)

Chronology of systemic disease development in 300 symptomatic recipients of silicone gel-filled breast implants (1996)

Clinical features of local breast phenomena in 300 symptomatic recipients of silicone gel-filled breast implants (1996)

Dr. Schoenfeld

Silicone breast implants and the risk of autoimmune/rheumatic disorders: a real-world analysis (2018)

The ASIA syndrome: basic concepts (2017)

Autoimmune/Inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants (ASIA) and thyroid autoimmunity (2017)

Sjörgen’s Syndrome and Environmental Factors (2016)

Silicone and Autoimmune/Inflammatory Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants (ASIA). (2015)

Silicone implant incompatibility syndrome (SIIS). A frequent cause of ASIA (Schoenfeld’s syndrome). (2013)

Autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants (Shoenfeld’s syndrome): clinical and immunological spectrum (2013)

The spectrum of ASIA: ‘Autoimmune (Auto-inflammatory) Syndrome induced by Adjuvants’ (2012)

’ASIA’ – Autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants (2010)

Fibrosarcoma after silicone breast augmentation: is there a connection? (1998)

Light and electron microscopic study of an invasive cribriform carcinoma with extensive microcalcification developing in a breast with silicone augmentation (1994)

Breast carcinoma occurring in association with silicone augmentation (1993)

Doctors Speak Out –

Dr. Bernard PattenDr. Al LevinDr. Robert Goldwyn,

Dr. Frank Vasey (the “Dark” side of silicone breast implants)

Dr. Stephen Edelson (goes into symptom mechanisms)

Dr. Britta Ostermeyer (on dangers of silicone implants)

Other Educational Videos –

Breast Implant Illness – Dr. Faria

Integrative en-block treatment – Dr. Hovsepian

Capsular contracture – ruptured breast implants – Dr. Cassileth

Silicone Toxicity and Detoxification – Dr. Jennings

Immune Response to Silicone (skip to 5:38 for the effects on children)

Dr. Urzola’s Live Feed on Breast Implant Illness (2017)

Other links:

National Birth Defect Registry

  • Did you have breast implants while pregnant?
  • Did you breastfeed with breast implants?
  • Was your child born with a birth defect? Was your child born with a birth defect?

The National Birth Defect Registry might be able to help us research any possible link between breast implants and birth defects. If you’d like to help, please go to their website and register. Click here for more info.

***Search here if a doctor is receiving payments from a manufacturer and here (such as fees in research, consulting, speaker, sponsor, etc).

Petitions –

Breast Implant Petition

Request FDA Hearing

Medical Device Safety Act H.R. 2164

Surveys –

Dr. Victor Urzola’s Breast Implant Illness Data Collection Database

Dr. Yehuda Shoenfeld’s ASIA survey

PIP Implants Survey – if you have or had PIP, please fill out this survey

Concerns for estrogenicy of silicone breast implants

Allergan manufacturing patent

Method of making textured surface implants patent (Mentor)

UK MHRA PIP Implant Ingredient Analyses

Dr. Harbut response to FDA on platinum toxicity

Dr. Maharaj and Dr. Lykissa responses to FDA on platinum toxicity

Facebook Support Groups:

US: Breast Implant Illness – The Ticking Time Bomb

Breast Implant Illness and Breast Cancer Survivors Home

Canada: Breast Implant Failure and Illness – Canada

Australia: Breast Implant Illness – (Australia & New Zealand) Healing and Support

UK: UK Breast Implant Illness and Healing Support Group

ALCL: ALCL in Women with Breast Implants (BIA-ALCL)

For all medical devices: Medical Device Problems

Mothers: Breast Implants and Children

There are over 160+ breast implant illness support groups and awareness pages on Facebook where women share their experiences.

Personal Stories and Videos:

The Naked Truth // My Life with Breast Implants

Personal stories

Alex Chafen – Breast Implants, a Husband’s Perspective

Andrea Conti Cowder (Video and BII Story)

Pursuing Explantation – My path to health after breast implant illness

Beth Maturevich – Breast Implant Illness (Saline) Video

Raylene Hollrah – Diagnosed with ALCL, story

Implant Illness Awareness – Breast implants are not safe. We are the proof.

Mybreastimplantillness WordPress 

nothappywithmentor.blogspot.com

The faces of breast implant illness – Video

Jamee Cook –

Pursuing Explantation – My path to health after breast implant illness

YouTube channel on breast implant illness

Advocacy Groups:

US:

Canada:

Australia:

Netherlands:

UK:

Scotland:

Ireland FB Group: PIP Ireland

France:

Italy FB Page: Protesi PIP and Blog

Sweden:

Switzerland: Informationen zu Brustimplantaten

Venezuela FB Group: Protesis Mamarias PIP

Brasil: Breast Implants Illness (Doença Prótese Mamária) Brasil

Singapore FB Page: Implant Illness and Detox Singapore

South Africa: Breast Implant Illness – South Africa

Breast Implant Illness Websites:

Breast Implant Victim Advocacy (BIVA)

Breast Implant Failure

BIA-ALCL

BIA-ALCL Awareness –  Just Call Me Ray Foundation  (Non-Profit)

Breast Implant Info (Non-Profit)

No Grit No Pearls.org (Non-Profit)

Toxic Discovery (Non-Profit)

Life Since Explant Club

Reversing Breast Implant Illness

Healing Breast Implant Illness

Discover Breast Implant Illness

Miss Diagnosed

BII Aware

Prothese Mammaire Danger

Fake Breasts Real Women

Breast implant illness websites and forums have been around since the late 90s and early 2000s:

Silicone Poison Report

Silicone Holocaust

Implant Information Network (founded in 2004)

Breast Implant Awareness – Humantics Foundation (founded in 2001)

Silicone Implants Survivors (forum since around 1999) and PS List

Silicone Hypersensitivity (owner passed away)

In addition, there were Yahoo support groups and breastimplantsupport.org was another popular forum but now is no longer running.

Breast Implant Manufacturer FDA Information:

Recalls

Allergan Natrelle Silicone & Allergan Silicone Timeline 

Allergan Natrelle 410 Cohesive Anatomical Silicone & Allergan Silicone Timeline

Mentor MemoryGel Silicone & Mentor Silicone Timeline

Mentor MemoryShape Silicone & Mentor Silicone Timeline

Sientra Silicone & FDA Timeline

Allergan Natrelle Saline & Saline Timeline

Mentor Saline & Saline Timeline

Ideal Saline & Saline Timeline

For more information on breast implant FDA links and how to do more FDA research, click here.

Books:

The Naked Truth About Breast Implants: From Harm to Healing by Dr. Susan Kolb

The D.I.R.T. Committee by Gail Hamilton

  • Must read, especially if you had Dow
  • D.I.R.T = Document Investigation & Review Team

The Boobie Trap: Silicone, Scandals, and Survival by Barbara Stanistreet

Informed Consent by John A. Byrne

Dr. Andrew Hall Cutler:

Dr. Cutler has a PhD in chemistry from Princeton University and has extensive study in biochemistry and medicine. He himself got mercury poisoning from amalgam fillings and created these books to provide guidance for detoxification.

Movies: Two Small VoicesBreast Men, Absolutely Safe

Press Articles & News:

Crystal Hefner Removes Breast Implants, Says They ‘Slowly Poisoned’ Her

Mother feels she is dying after her 32E breast implants ‘poisoned’ her

Dr. Britta Ostermeyer testifies to FDA in 2000 on the dangers of silicone breast implants.

Safety of breast implants under review in South Korea after silicone gel found in breast milk

FDA panels put silicone breast implants back under microscope (2011)

The silicone implant scandal (2012)

Breast Implants: America’s Silent Epidemic

Breast Implant Illness by Maya

Sara-Jane Fitness Cover Story

The Troubled History of PIP’s Implant Man in America **Implant manufacturers all operate in relatively similar ways and this article provides a glimpse of the dirty and corrupt business.

The “Dark” Side of Silicone Breast Implants

Toxic Moldy Breast Implants

Breast Implant Toxicity – on the radio with Danielle Delaney & Alex Charfen

The Ill Effects of Breast Implants

Why are celebrities removing their breast implants?

Explant Breast Surgery: Why women are getting their breast implants removed

Devoted mother-of-four dies from heart failure after implants trigger dormant TB

46 cases of ALCL diagnosed in Australia & New Zealand

Australia’s health regulator has confirmed that women with breast implants have a much higher risk of cancer (7 News Sydney – Video)

Patients accuse breast implant manufacturer of fraud (2016 – Allergan)

Breast implant illness conference – Texas (7/16/16)

News Segment on a lady with breast implant illness & saline implants

Monsters Inside of Me – Discovery Channel on saline implants with mold

Mold and Breast Implant Illness – The Doctors (TV show)

2017 – Important Year for Breast Implant News –

Breast implant illness gains nationwide coverage and becomes a movement:

French court says German firm must compensate for faulty breast implants

Woman who beat breast cancer once says breast implants caused cancer again

Johnson & Johnson Unit Sued Over Leaking Breast Implants

Johnson & Johnson, Mentor Worldwide LLC Senior staff target Support Groups

Former Playboy Models Get Their Breast Implants Removed Believing They Caused Illness

Mother-of-two is left with ROTTING breasts after silicone implants leaked into her blood stream – as cosmetic procedures fall to a ten-year low in the UK 

Can implants kill you?

Phoenix Valley women speak out on breast implant illness: ‘I just had to get them out’

Doctor’s Breast Implant Illness Denial Elicits Strong Response

Breast Implants Cause Rare Form of Cancer, FDA says

9 deaths linked to rare cancer form breast implants

In the News: Breast Implants Linked to Rare Cancer (Diana Zuckerman)

Former Women’s IFBB Pro Jackie Paisley dies after long battle with illness (silicone toxicity)

Breast Implant Survey Suggests Doctors Divided on Safety

Nicola Robinson’s Deepest Regret (silicone breast implants)

Breast Implant Illness + 6 Other Breast Implant Dangers (Dr. Axe)

Playboy Models Claim Implants Caused Health Problems (The Doctors, show)

Former Playmate of the Year on removing breast implants: ‘I literally thought I was dying’ (AZ Family News)

Women complain that their breast implants made them sick (West Palm Beach – WPTV News)

Her Hidden Dangers (Illinois – 23WIFR News)

Breast implant patient’s life ‘could have been saved’ – Hairdresser Kandi du Cros died after breast implant operation flared up rare existing disease (BBC News)

2 Massachusetts Women, Thousands Nationwide Say Breast Implants Made Them Sick (CBS Boston News)

Women concerned about implants after learning they may be linked to rare cancer (Fox 59 Indianapolis News)

Caldwell woman diagnosed with cancer from her breast implants, insurance won’t pay to remove them (KIVI 6 On Your Side – ABC Idaho)

A Shocking Diagnosis: Breast Implants ‘Gave Me Cancer’ (NY Times)

DeLauro Statement on Breast Implants Connected to Lymphoma (United States Representative Rosa DeLauro)

Swedish breast implant illness news story: Johanna, 31, varnar andra: “Implantaten gjorde mig jättesjuk”

Danish: Johanna fik opereret brysterne større – aldrig har hun fortrudt noget så meget

Woman reveals danger of implants, horror of lawsuits – silicone poisoning brings on 20 year suit with Dow Chemicals (UB Media Biz)

Conflict of Interest: The FDA & Big Pharma – Does the FDA Work for Big Pharma? (Drug Watch)

Breast prostheses: For a national registry of complications (Dr. José Budo)

Colorado women claim breast implants made them sick (Denver 7 News)

Did breast implants make Valley woman sick? (ABC15 Arizona)

9 Investigates health concerns with silicone breast implants (WFTV9 Orlando, FL)

Brit Boob Implant Cancer Bombshell – Two breast surgery patients die from a ‘bombshell’ cancer linked to implants

Rare cancer reignites debate over breast implants’ safety

Silicone Breast Implants are back – This Time the Issue is Cancer

Sydney mother’s dire warning after breast implants almost ruined her life. (Australia News)

Dr. Robert Whitfield MD, FACS describes breast implant-related illness (The Plastic Surgery Channel)

The Explant Phenomenon (Huffington News)

Former ‘Playboy’ playmates have ‘toxic’ breast implants removed after they make them sick (Inside Edition)

Women say breast implants caused unexplained illness for years (WSB-TV Atlanta, GA)

Why scores of women are having their implants removed (Tucson News, AZ)

More Canadian women having their breast implants removed, surgeons say (CTV News)

2018

Women battling illness after breast implants urge awareness, education (CBS Miami)

The breast implants that may be linked to blood cancer: Linzy was baffled by her symptoms but doctors solved the mystery in time for her to make a full recovery (Daily Mail UK)

South Florida Woman: Breast implants ruined my life (West Palm Beach – WPTV News)

CBS 5 Investigates: Chemist claims breast implants make some women sick (CBS Arizona)

Why Kiwi women are getting their breast implants removed (New Zealand)

I spent the last five years managing my health so my body could cope with these toxic bags’: Why more women are having their breast implants REMOVED following debilitating complications (Daily Mail Australia)

Facing unexplainable symptoms, metro women argue silicone breast implants made them sick (Fox 4 Kansas)

Arkansas women want doctors, FDA to recognize seriousness of ‘Breast Implant Illness’ (THV11 Arkansas)

My breast implants were killing me – how I took my life back (Elephant Journal)

Calls to ban textured breast implants after two die and 23 develop same type of cancer (My Vue News – UK)

Kiwi woman says seven-year illness caused by breast implants (Stuff – New Zealand)

Perth mum Ricci Jess reveals painful truth behind fake boobs (Perth Now – Australia) 

Explants: breast implants removal surgery grows among Perth women (Perth Now – Australia)

My breast implants nearly destroyed my life: how S Club 7’s Hannah Spearritt was left in agony following the boob job she craved (Daily Mail UK)

After 17 years with breast implants, Princeton woman leads calls for more education, safety (WFAA 8 ABC – North Texas)

Mount Pleasant woman says breast implants caused serious health problems (4News – Mount Pleasant, South Carolina)

Breast Implant Illness: What we don’t know can hurt us (Swaay)

Glamour model who got a boob job at 18 shares her plastic surgery nightmare that destroyed her kidneys and has left her on dialysis (Daily Mail Australia)

Facing health issues, Georgia woman has breast implants removed (Fox5 – Atlanta, Georgia)

Breast Implant Illness: Two metro women say implants caused years of complications (13 WHOtv – Iowa)

Breast Implant Illness: Woman claims implants made her sick (7 WJHG – Panama City Beach, Florida)

Former local 4 reporter says breast implants caused years of chronic fatigue, depression, hair loss (Click On Detroit – Michigan)

Auckland woman ‘s painful lesson about the dangers of breast implants (News Hub – NZ) 

What this yoga teacher learned from her mistake with breast implants (Charlotte Five)

Biocell textured breast implants under scrutiny as women complain of pain (CBC – Canada)

Breast implants reveal problems in tracking device safety (AP News) 

Breast Implant Injuries Kept Hidden As New Health Threats Surface (ICIJ)

Under the skin of ICIJ’s Implant Files (ICIJ)

Breast implants study reveals serious safety concerns (The Guardian)

The Implant Files reveal how breast implants linked to rare cancer set off alarm bells (ABC – Australia)

The Implant Files: Faulty breast implants leave women in limbo (Financial Review – Australia) 

Bare dager etter at hun opererte inn silikon i brystet, merket Karin Wenke Osthaug at noe var galt (Aftenpolten – Norway)

Cancer lié aux prothèses mammaires (LAGC) : l’inertie des autorités sanitaires (France Culture)

Temor, burocracia y dolor: hablan tres argentinas damnificadas por implantes mamarios (Perfil – Argentina)

British women are hit by new breast implant cancer scare seven years after PIP scandal as concerns grow over most commonly-used implant banned in France but still allowed in UK (Daily Mail – UK)

Rare form of Blood Cancer Linked to Certain Type of Breast Implants Used by Thousands of Women (People)

Breast Implants May Increase Your Risk of A Rare Type Of Cancer (Women’s Health)

Some medical devices deemed unsafe in other nations still sold in U.S. (NBC News)

Breast-implant-related complications, including cancer, kept secret thanks to broken reporting system (The Star)

My Breast Implants Made Me Sick – and Nobody Believed Me (Cosmopolitan)

Hidden dangers: patients, doctors not informed of defective implants (ICIJ)

Many Women Getting Breast Implants Removed In Light Of Health Concerns (CBS Philly)

Mother, 34, who was left ‘slowly dying’ by her ‘toxic’ C-cup breast implants has them removed after four years of agony (Daily Mail and The Sun)

Richmond woman warns of breast implant illness (K12 – Virginia)

As the Allergan breast implants disaster explodes, isn’t it time women say enough is enough? (Huffington Post – UK)

Allergan’s textured breast implants recalled by French authorities (NBC News)

 

 

 

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WILL JOHNSON & JOHNSON FACE “OPIOID CRISIS LEGAL JUSTICE” IN OKLAHOMA VERDICT?

Florida, Texas, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee, Massachusetts and others have their own Opioid Litigation in state courts across the country

By Mark A. York (July 15, 2019)

Live-video-opening-statements-for-oklahoma-opioid-trial vs. Johnson & Johnson

J&J defense-rests-in-opioid-trial-closing-arguments-set-for-July 15th

(MASS TORT NEXUS MEDIA) The time has now arrived for Opioid Big Pharma, in all forms to face the facts that for close to 20 years they have flooded the mainstream commerce of America with massive amounts of opiates with little to no oversight, which whether caused by a catastrophic systemic failure on many levels, or simple greed, the time has now come for the opiate industry to face the music of complex litigation in state and federal court venues across the country.

What remains to be seen is where and how the directly affected “individuals” who were prescribed millions of addictive opiates and subsequently became addicted and where thousands more overdosed and died, fit in to the “opioid litigation solution” and if they will actually receive treatment services and assistance on a substantive level.

Johnson & Johnson used promotional gimmicks for its opioid painkillers that are similar to how criminal drug dealers try to boost sales, a pharmaceutical-industry critic told a judge hearing Oklahoma’s claim that the company helped fuel a crisis of addiction.

J&J’s use of coupons allowing patients to get free Duragesic pain patches was improper, said Andrew Kolodny, a Brandeis University professor and opioid researcher who testified at the trial Wednesday on behalf of the state, which says the company is liable under public-nuisance laws.

Closing arguments are underway today, July 15, 2019 in Oklahoma’s case against Johnson & Johnson alleging the consumer products giant and its subsidiaries helped fuel the state’s opioid crisis.

Each side had about two hours Monday to make their cases to Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman, who is expected to issue his ruling at a later date.

See Original Complaint – State of Oklahoma vs. Purdue Pharma et al, June 30, 2017 (Cleveland County, OK District Court)

https://kfor.com/2019/07/12/defense-rests-in-opioid-trial-closing-arguments-set-for-July 15th

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter has described consumer products giant Johnson & Johnson as the “kingpin” company that helped fuel the state’s opioid crisis during closing arguments in the state’s case against the drugmaker.

Oklahoma claims that J&J aggressively marketed opioids in the state in a way that overstated their effectiveness to treat chronic pain and understated the addiction risks.

For a look at the Federal Opiate Litigation MDL 2804 see “OPIOID-CRISIS-BRIEFCASE -MDL-2804-OPIATE-PRESCRIPTION-LITIGATION” where counties, cities, indian tribes as well as unions, hospitals and individuals have filed more than 2000 lawsuits against the opioid industry as a whole.

Bad Conduct of Opioid Big Pharma Outlined

In a June 2017 memo to Purdue officials, titled “Confidential Program Recommendation,” Matt Well, a founding partner of the Washington, D.C.-based public relations firm The Herald Group, details a campaign that included attacks on undisclosed attorneys general. The attacks were intended to deter other states from suing the company.

Link to Purdue Pharma Opioid Marketing Campaign Documents

“Our goal is to make state attorneys general think twice about joining the litigation,” Well wrote in the proposal.

Other recommendations included targeting outside law firms hired to help in the cases by calling into question the attorneys’ credibility and personal profit motive.

The final recommendation included working with journalists and placing stories in specific publications to tell what the firm labeled “the anti-story”. The anti-story refers to the public relations firm finding legal experts to talk to reporters or write op-eds for publications that slam lawsuits filed by states and shift the blame for the epidemic to victims in an attempt to sway public opinion to the company’s favor.

At one point, the opiate industry attempted to raise arguments stating that the Food and Drug Administration hasn’t yet determined whether narcotic painkillers are unnecessarily dangerous – a central question in any litigation, which was quickly denied and seems to show that Opiate Big Pharma is once again attempting to hide behind the FDA shield.

BILLIONS IN PROFITS

The pharmaceutical industry spent a vast $6.4 billion in “direct-to-consumer” advertisements to hype new drugs in 2016, according tracking firm Kantar Media. That figure has gone up by 62% since 2012, Kantar Media says. This number may seem large at first but compared to the multi-billions in yearly profits just by opioid manufacturers over the last 15 years, the numbers is small.  Corporate earnings have risen every year since the push to increase opioid prescriptions in every way possible, to became an accepted business model in Big Pharma boardrooms across the country.

Opioids were involved in more than 42,000 overdose deaths in 2016, the last year for which data was available, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Kentucky, one of the nation’s hardest-hit states, lost more than 1,400 people to drug overdoses that year.

KEY POINTS AT OKLAHOMA TRIAL 

  • Lawyers for the state, including Attorney General Mike Hunter, told a judge in Norman, Oklahoma that J&J knew opioids were addictive yet played down their dangers when promoting them, leading to an oversupply of pills that caused overdose deaths.
  • The case is one of around 2,000 actions by state and local governments accusing drug manufacturers of contributing to the opioid epidemic.
  • J&J denies causing the epidemic. Its lawyers have argued that its products made up a small share of opioids prescribed in Oklahoma and carried U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved labels that warned of the addictive risks.

Lawyers for the state of Oklahoma on Monday urged a judge to hold Johnson & Johnson responsible for fueling the U.S. opioid epidemic, as the first trial nationally in litigation over the drug crisis came to an end.

Attorney General Mike Hunter, told a judge in Norman, Oklahoma that J&J knew opioids were addictive yet played down their dangers when promoting them, leading to an oversupply of pills that caused overdose deaths.

“This company went out and sponsored lies,” Brad Beckworth, a lawyer for the state, said in his closing argument.” They went out and said the risk of addiction was less than 1%.”

He urged Judge Thad Balkmanm, who presided over the multibillion-dollar nonjury trial, to find Johnson & Johnson liable for creating a public nuisance.

The case is one of around 2,000 actions by state and local governments accusing drug manufacturers of contributing to the opioid epidemic. Opioids were linked to a record 47,600 overdose deaths in 2017, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Oklahoma trial is being closely watched by plaintiffs in other opioid lawsuits, particularly in 1,900 cases pending before a federal judge in Ohio who has been pushing for a settlement ahead of an October trial.

At trial, lawyers for Oklahoma argued that J&J, which sold the painkillers Duragesic and Nucynta, had since the 1990s marketed opioids as “safe and effective for everyday pain” while downplaying their addictive qualities.

The state has accused J&J of acting as the “kingpin” behind the epidemic and says the company was motivated to boost prescriptions not only because it sold painkillers but because it also grew and imported raw materials that opioid manufacturers like OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP used.

J&J denies causing the epidemic. Its lawyers have argued that its products made up a small share of opioids prescribed in Oklahoma and carried U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved labels that warned of the addictive risks.

J&J, whose lawyers were expected to deliver their own closing arguments later on Monday, argues the state is seeking to stretch the bounds of a public nuisance statute in order to force J&J to pay up to $17.5 billion to remedy the crisis.

Purdue and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd were originally also defendants in the case. Purdue reached a $270 million settlement with the state in March and Teva settled for $85 million in June. Both deny wrongdoin

One contributing factor behind the opioid epidemic is the increase in the use of prescription painkillers nationally. From 1991 to 2011, the number of opioid prescriptions dispensed by U.S. pharmacies tripled from 76 million to 219 million.[4] This increase in the use of opioids is unique to America. The United States represents less than 5 percent of the world’s population but consumes roughly 80 percent of the world’s supply of opioid drugs.[5] There is also wide variation from one state to another in opioid-prescribing rates. In 2012 twelve states had more opioid prescriptions than people: Alabama (142.9 per 100 people), Tennessee (142.8), West Virginia (137.6), Kentucky (128.4), Oklahoma (127.8), Mississippi (120.3), Louisiana (118), Arkansas (115.8), Indiana (109.1), Michigan (107), South Carolina (101.8), and Ohio (100.1).[6]

The impact of the opioid epidemic touches every aspect of our public safety and judicial system. Drug-related arrests involving opioids are skyrocketing. In many communities, court dockets and probation caseloads are filled with individuals with opioid-use disorders. Access to treatment, particularly medication-assisted treatment combined with cognitive behavioral interventions, is limited—particularly in rural communities. This epidemic also comes at a price. In 2015 the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services began providing substance-abuse treatment in Ohio’s prisons, spending an estimated $30 million per year on drug treatment in prisons, $4 million on housing for individuals in recovery, and $1 million over two years for naloxone to reverse drug overdoses. The Ohio State Highway Patrol spent over $2 million to expand and improve their crime lab to keep up with substance testing.

UP TO $500 BILLION SETTLEMENT?

The current “Opiate Prescription Litigation MDL 2804” is being compared to the 1998 Tobacco Litigation settlement where Big Tobacco paid a settlement of $200 billion to cities, states and other governmental entities. The Opioid Litigation is expected to reach settlement figures of 3 to 4 times that amount, projected to be at the $500 billion plus figure, due to the rampant corporate boardroom directed policies that flooded the US marketplace for the last 15 years. Corporate sales and marketing policies and lack of oversight, enabled hundreds of millions of opioid prescription drugs to reach all areas of the country, thereby causing in excess of 100 thousand deaths and unknown catastrophic economic damages in every corner of the United States.

INSURERS ARE FIGHTING BACK

In 2018 ravelers Insurance and St Paul Fire and Marine Insurance scored a legal victory when they were granted a declaratory judgment win related to defending Watson and it’s parent company Activis, Inc in the Orange County-Santa Clara County litigation, after the California Appellate Court declared the Traveller’s/St Paul  opioid coverage policy void due to the “Watson’s Deliberate Conduct” in relation to sales and marketing of opioid prescription drugs, which was determined to be improper. The decision also voided the Watson-Activis coverage in the City of Chicago vs. Watson et al, in Chicago federal court, see  California Appeals Court Denies Insurance Coverage For Opioid Drug Makers Defense. This may be a trend for insurance carriers as they’ve filed other legal action to void coverage on behalf of opioid drug makers including Insys Therapeutics, Inc and defense of its Subsys fentanyl fast acting drug.

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  1. For the most up-to-date information on all MDL dockets and related mass torts visit  www.masstortnexus.com and review our mass tort briefcases and professional site MDL briefcases.
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Note: (Excerpts within this article include reference materials from CBS, ABC, NBC US Department of Ju

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Fosamax Ruling: “A Small Win for Defense, A Big Win for Plaintiffs”

SCOTUS Fosamax Ruling (May 20, 2019)

Issue: Whether a state-law failure-to-warn claim is pre-empted when the Food and Drug Administration rejected the drug manufacturer’s proposal to warn about the risk after being provided with the relevant scientific data, or whether such a case must go to a jury for conjecture as to why the FDA rejected the proposed warning

Small Win for Defendants

Defendants Won the argument that a Judge not a jury is the proper authority to decide impossibility preemption arguments arising under the FDCA (Food and Drug Cosmetics Act, Title 21). However, the win on this one issue is a hollow victory for defendants considering the entirety of SCOTUS order and opinion.

SCOTUS ruled that judges not juries are the proper authority to decide the issue however, SCOTUS also placed significant limits on what those lower court judges could and could not consider when ruling on impossibility pre-preemption arguments like those raise by Merck in the Fosamax Case.

JUSTICE THOMAS SUMMARY OF RULING

JUSTICE THOMAS, concurring:

I join the Court’s opinion and write separately to explain my understanding of the relevant pre-emption principles and how they apply to this case.

“Because Merck points to no statute, regulation, or other agency action with the force of law that would have prohibited it from complying with its alleged state-law duties, its pre-emption defense should fail as a matter of law”

Big Win for Plaintiffs

SCOTUS ruled that Judges decide however, SCOTUS went much further and defined limits on what facts and information could be considered by lower court judges when making decisions related to impossibly preemption arguments like those raised by Merck in Fosamax.

SCOTUS opinion limits the clear and convincing evidence standards to OFFICAL Acts taken by the FDA which would in general rise1. If the defendant did not go through the CBE process and make the change (the exact warning plaintiffs allege was needed) and the FDA later told them to remove the warning, then FDA OFFICALLY told them to remove the warning, then no pre-emption exists.

1. If the defendant did not go through the CBE process and make the change (the exact warning plaintiffs allege was needed) and the FDA later told them to remove the warning, then FDA OFFICALLY told them to remove the warning, then no pre-emption exists.

2. If the defendant did not ask to make the specific label change (which plaintiffs allege was needed) having provided the FDA all relevant information, and the FDA OFFICIALLY denied the label change, then no pre-emption exists.

Arguments that postulate “hypotheticals” (absent either of the above official actions (facts)) are not to be considered. Communications between the defendant and the FDA, Statements by the FDA that do not constitute an official act under the law, are not to be considered.

The pre-emption question dates back to the original Fosamax case, which was filed by patients who suffered femoral fractures while taking the osteoporosis drug. Merck added language to the product’s label about the risk in 2011, but more than 500 patients claimed that their injuries occurred before then, and Merck should have warned them sooner.

In January 2019, the full Supreme Court heard arguments in Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. v. Albrecht, a case arising out of the In Re: Fosamax (Alendronate Sodium) Products Liability Litigation. Fosamax is a drug used to treat osteoporosis, with a cited adverse event being that it may inhibit bone repair, which could result in an atypical femoral fracture.

The central claim at issue concerns the Fosamax warning label, which initially did not warn of the risk of an atypical femoral fracture. Plaintiffs contend that the label should have included such a warning, while Merck counters that it tried to add language addressing the risk of a “Low-Energy Femoral Shaft Fracture,” but was prevented from doing so by the FDA, who affirmatively told Merck to “hold off” on adding any such language until the FDA could decide on “atypical fracture language, if it is warranted.”  Ultimately, the FDA rejected Merck’s proposed warning label, stating that the justification for such language was “inadequate.” The FDA reversed course the following year, and Merck then added a risk of atypical femoral fracture to Fosamax’s label.

Based on these facts, Merck moved for summary judgment on the plaintiff’s failure-to-warn claims, arguing that such claims were preempted under Wyeth v. Levine because “clear evidence” demonstrated that the FDA would not—and did not—approve of the proposed label change.  The District Court agreed, but the Third Circuit did not, holding instead that: (1) Levine’s reference to “‘clear evidence’ referred solely to the applicable standard of proof,” which Merck failed to satisfy; and (2) the issue of whether the FDA would have rejected the label change was a fact question for the jury, (see Fosamax [Merck] Appeal U.S. Court of Appeals 3rd Circuit).

SCOTUS RULED 9-0

Additional Concurring Opinion on the judgment only (Jury vs Judge only) from Justices Cavanaugh, Alito’s  and Chief Justice Roberts could be interpreted as allowing lower court Judges to consider other Official acts by the FDA other than those delineated above however, the additional opinion did not define what official acts other than the two discussed could be considered and inasmuch as these two official actions are constitute the limit of the powers relevant to such matters, delegated to the FDA by Congress, it is doubtful that a defendant could show a lower court Judge any other document (without posing hypotheticals) that would constitute an official action taken by the FDA that would have prevented the defendant from meeting its State Law duties (impossibility preemption).

In that the only powers delegated to the FDA by Congress (powers under the law) are those defined in the two types of actions listed above, relevant to the type of impossibility preemption arguments that were raised in Fosamax, based on unofficial actions, communications and statements from the FDA (and that defendants hoped to raise in numerous other cases) the Fosamax ruling taken in its entity, is a major blow to defendants hoping to open major cracks in Wyeth v Levine.

The central issue in this case concerns federal preemption, which as relevant here, takes place when it is “‘impossible for a private party to comply with both state and federal requirements.’” Mutual Pharmaceutical Co. v. Bartlett, 570 U. S. 472, 480 (2013). See also U. S. Const., Art. VI, cl. 2. The state law that we consider is state common law or state statutes that require drug manufacturers to warn drug consumers of the risks associated with drugs. The federal law that we consider is the statutory and regulatory scheme through which the FDA regulates the information that appears on brand-name prescription drug labels. The alleged conflict between state and federal law in this case has to do with a drug that was manufactured by petitioner Merck Sharp & Dohme and was administered to respondents without a warning of certain associated risks.

FOSAMAX HISTORY

Merck developed Fosamax to strengthen bones and reduce the risk of fractures from osteoporosis. However, numerous studies have linked the medication to an elevated risk of abnormal femur fractures. Furthermore, plaintiffs in the litigation argue that Merck had an intrinsic obligation to its consumers to provide stronger warnings that users could experience femur fractures from little or no trauma while taking the medication. This includes falling from standing height or less.

Merck introduced Fosamax in 1995, and the company didn’t add a thigh bone fracture risk warning label to the drug until 2011. Plaintiffs claim Merck knew about the risk for years but concealed it to maximize sales and profits.

Fosamax was a blockbuster drug with annual sales of over $3 billion, until the company  lost its exclusive patent rights in 2008, even then the brand name drug still brought in $284 million in sales in 2016.

MERCK SHARP & DOHME CORP. v. ALBRECHT Opinion of the Court(excerpt)

III

We turn now to what is the determinative question before us:

Is the question of agency disapproval primarily one of fact, normally for juries to decide, or is it a question of law, normally for a judge to decide without a jury?

The complexity of the preceding discussion of the law helps to illustrate why we answer this question by concluding that the question is a legal one for the judge, not a jury. The question often involves the use of legal skills to determine whether agency disapproval fits facts that are not in dispute. Moreover, judges, rather than lay juries, are better equipped to evaluate the nature and scope of an agency’s determination. Judges are experienced in “[t]he construction of written instruments,” such as those normally produced by a federal agency to memorialize its considered judgments. Markman v. Westview Instruments, Inc., 517 U. S. 370, 388 (1996). And judges are better suited than are juries to understand and to interpret agency decisions in light of the governing statutory and regulatory context. Cf. 5 U. S. C. §706 (specifying that a “reviewing court,” not a jury, “shall . . . determine the meaning or applicability of the terms of an agency action”); see also H. R. Rep. No. 1980, 79th Cong., 2d Sess., 44 (1946) (noting longstanding view that “questions respecting the . . . terms of any agency action” and its “application” are “questions of law”). To understand the question as a legal question for judges makes sense given the fact that judges are normally familiar with principles of administrative law. Doing so should produce greater uniformity among courts; and greater uniformity is normally a virtue when a question requires a determination concerning the scope and effect of federal agency action. Cf. Markman, 517 U. S., at 390–391.

We understand that sometimes contested brute facts will prove relevant to a court’s legal determination about the meaning and effect of an agency decision. For example, if the FDA rejected a drug manufacturer’s supplemental application to change a drug label on the ground that the information supporting the application was insufficient to warrant a labeling change, the meaning and scope of that decision might depend on what information the FDA had before it. Yet in litigation between a drug consumer and a drug manufacturer (which will ordinarily lack an official administrative record for an FDA decision), the litigants may dispute whether the drug manufacturer submitted all material information to the FDA.

But we consider these factual questions to be subsumed within an already tightly circumscribed legal analysis. And we do not believe that they warrant submission alone or together with the larger pre-emption question to a jury. Rather, in those contexts where we have determined that the question is “for the judge and not the jury,” we have also held that “courts may have to resolve subsidiary factual disputes” that are part and parcel of the broader legal question.  Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. v. Sandoz, Inc., 574 U. S. ___, ___–___ (2015) (slip op., at 6– 7). And, as in contexts as diverse as the proper construction of patent claims and the voluntariness of criminal confessions, they create a question that “‘falls somewhere between a pristine legal standard and a simple historical fact.’” Markman, 517 U. S., at 388 (quoting Miller v. Fenton, 474 U. S. 104, 114 (1985)). In those circumstances, “‘the fact/law distinction at times has turned on a determination that, as a matter of the sound administration of justice, one judicial actor is better positioned than another to decide the issue in question.’” Markman, 517 U. S., at 388 (quoting Miller, 474 U. S., at 114). In this context, that “better positioned” decisionmaker is the judge.

 IV

Because the Court of Appeals treated the pre-emption question as one of fact, not law, and because it did not have an opportunity to consider fully the standards we have described in Part II of our opinion, we vacate its judgment and remand the case to that court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

It is so ordered.

____________________________________________________________

How Big Pharma’s cadre of lobbyists and congressional insiders attempt to reap major dividends, as we address the Fosamax ruling remains to be seen, but considering the wide-open lack of federal oversight for pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers by the current administration, it would appear that Big Pharma investments in the FDA and related oversight agencies is paying off very well.

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Mass Tort Nexus “CLE Immersion Course”

May 31 – June 3, 2019 at The Riverside Hotel in Fort Lauderdale , FL

For class attendance information please contact Anne Marie Kopek at 954.837.3423 or AnneMarie@masstortnexus.com.

  1. For the most up-to-date information on all MDL dockets and related mass torts visit  www.masstortnexus.com and review our mass tort briefcases and professional site MDL briefcases.
  2. To obtain our free newsletters that contains real time mass tort updates, visit www.masstortnexus.com/news and sign up for free access.

 

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FDA BANS THE USE OF PELVIC MESH PRODUCTS – How Will This Affect The TVM Litigation?

Will this move by the FDA re-ignite the mass tort engine in TVM litigation or possibly force settlement in Ethicon TVM MDL 2327?

By Mark A. York (April 17, 2019)

 

 

 

 

 

 

(MASS TORT NEXUS MEDIA) Manufacturers of pelvic synthetic surgical mesh products must stop selling and distributing their products in the United States immediately, the US Food and Drug Administration ordered Tuesday. The surgical mesh is typically used to repair pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and incontinence, but reported side effects have included permanent incontinence, severe discomfort and an inability to have sex.  The key issue with the product for many years is the fact that its made from polypropylene, basically the same material as fishing line.

The FDA said it “has determined that the manufacturers, Boston Scientific and Coloplast, have not demonstrated a reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness for these devices.”

The FDA said its April 16, 2019 action to remove surgical mesh products from the market is part of its commitment to ensuring the safety of medical devices. In a November statement, the agency said that it “regulates more than 190,000 different devices, which are manufactured by more than 18,000 firms in more than 21,000 medical device facilities worldwide.”

FDA Release January 4, 2019

FDA strengthens requirements for surgical mesh for the transvaginal repair of pelvic organ prolapse to address safety risks

Summary: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued two final orders to manufacturers and the public to strengthen the data requirements for surgical mesh to repair pelvic organ prolapse (POP) transvaginally, or through the vagina. The FDA issued one order to reclassify these medical devices from class II, which generally includes moderate-risk devices, to class III, which generally includes high-risk devices, and a second order that requires manufacturers to submit a premarket approval (PMA) application to support the safety and effectiveness of surgical mesh for the transvaginal repair of POP.

FDA Finally Takes Action

Each year, thousands of women undergo transvaginal surgery to repair pelvic organ prolapse, a condition where weakened muscles and ligaments cause the pelvic organs to drop lower in the pelvis, creating a bulge or prolapse in the vagina. In the 1990s, gynecologists began implanting surgical mesh for the transvaginal repair of the condition and in 2002, the first mesh device specifically for this purpose was cleared for use by the FDA, according to the agency’s statement.

“We couldn’t assure women that these devices were safe and effective long term,” said Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

For years, medical device companies have stated that the products they are developing and placing into the marketplace are safe and helping patients in the USA and worldwide. That is often not the case and people around the world are suffering.

Medical device makers and compensated doctors have touted FDA approved implants and other devices as the surgical cure for millions of patients suffering from a wide range of pain disorders, making them one of the fastest-growing products in the $400 billion medical device industry. Companies and doctors aggressively push them as a safe antidote to the deadly opioid crisis in the U.S. and as a treatment for an aging population in need of chronic pain relief and many other afflictions.

2017 Pelvic Mesh Study in England Showed High Number of Adverse Events:

Scientific Reports Volume 7, Article number: 12015 (2017) |

Complications following vaginal mesh procedures for stress urinary incontinence: an 8 year study of 92,246 women

Conclusions

Summary: This is the largest study to date of surgical mesh insertions for SUI. It includes all NHS patients in England over an 8-year period. We estimate that 9.8% of patients undergoing surgical mesh insertion for SUI experienced a complication peri-procedurally, within 30-days or within 5 years of the initial mesh insertion procedure. This is likely a lower estimate of the true incidence. Given concerns about the safety of these procedures, this study provides robust data to inform both individual decision-making and national guidance.

Why Device Makers Tout FDA Approvals

  1. “Medtronic receives FDA clearance for two heart devices”
  2. “FDA approves device to help curb cluster headaches”
  3. MRI approved for young infants in intensive care

Manufacturer headlines like these instill consumer confidence that medical devices are safe and effective. After all, they have the FDA’s stamp of approval, right? NO!

The reality is, the FDA seldom requires rigorous evidence that a device works well–and safely–before allowing it onto the market. Medical devices are the diverse array of non-drug products used to diagnosis and treat medical conditions, from bandages to MRI scanners to smartphone apps to artificial hips.

This low standard of evidence applies to even the highest risk devices such as those that are implanted in a person’s body. Surgical mesh, pacemakers and gastric weight loss balloons are just a few examples of devices that have had serious safety problems.

Devices are subject to weaker standards than drugs because they’re regulated under a different law. The Medical Device Amendments of 1976 was intended to encourage innovation while allowing for a range of review standards based on risk, according to legal expert Richard A. Merrill. An array of corporate lobbying has since prompted Congress to ease regulations and make it easier for devices to get the FDA’s approval.

In 2011, an Institute of Medicine panel recommended that the “flawed” system be replaced, because it does not actually establish safety and effectiveness. At the time the FDA said it disagreed with the group’s recommendations.

Defective devices cleared through this system have included hip replacements that failed prematurely, surgical mesh linked to pain and bleeding and a surgical instrument that inadvertently spread uterine cancer.

Bard took the Avaulta implants off the market in 2012 and did the same with the Align inserts in 2016. The company chose to remove the products the day after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2010 ordered Bard and other mesh-manufacturers, including Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon), Boston Scientific and Endo (American Medical S), to review their mesh products, which also resulted in J&J removing four lines of synthetic surgical mesh products from the market. .J&J’s Ethicon subsidiary is facing more than 50 thousand lawsuits regarding its synthetic mesh device in Ethicon (J&J) Pelvic Mesh TVM Litigation MDL-2327.

The Ethicon MDL is in the same West Virginia federal court as the Bard and other mesh manufacturer multidistrict litigation, which are all being heard by Judge Goodwin.  Judge Goodwin has previously expressed his frustration with the parties not engaging in substantive settlements discussions to resolve the thousands of cases, the one option he has is to begin remanding cases back for trial in court venues around the country, possibly forcing both sides to begin earnest settlement talks. Goodwin has held hearings with leadership attorneys from both sides appearing before the court to possibly kickstart settlements. He has gone so far as to warn mesh manufacturers that if they do not settle, U.S. juries appear poised to inflict hundreds of millions, or even billions, of dollars in compensatory and punitive damages on them in thousands of cases that would overload the federal judicial system for years to come.

The FDA forcing mesh manufacturers to stop the use of synthetic mesh is long overdue, and how this action results in renewed interest by mass tort firms across the country, remains to be seen. Regardless, it would seem that Ethicon and the other defendants in the pending TVM litigation that have been unwilling to discuss settlement, may now be forced to deal with the catastrophic consequences of manufacturing and marketing medical devices that have injured untold thousands of patients around the world.

To access the most current TVM case status and other real time information on Mass Torts  sign up for:

Mass Tort Nexus “CLE Immersion Course”

May 31 to June 3, 2019 at The Riverside Hotel in Fort Lauderdale , FL

For class attendance information please contact  Barbara Capasso 954.383.3932 or Barbara@masstortnexus.com

  1. For the most up-to-date information on all MDL dockets and related mass torts visit www.masstortnexus.com and review our mass tort briefcases and professional site MDL briefcases.
  2. To obtain our free newsletters that contains real time mass tort updates, visit www.masstortnexus.com/news and sign up for free access.

 

 

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The FDA Revamped Their Website

 

 

https://www.fda.gov/ as of April 26, 2019

 

 FDA has announced the launch of a newly redesigned FDA public access website. They have made changes to provide a more modern and customer friendly access for the public. The new FDA website launch was completed April 26, 2019.

PRODUCTS THE FDA REGULATES

FoodDrugsMedical DevicesRadiation-Emitting ProductsVaccines, Blood, and BiologicsAnimal and VeterinaryCosmetics and Tobacco Products

____________________________________________________________

The FDA public website receives nearly 5 million visitors—consumers, health professionals, scientists/researchers, and industry stakeholders each month. It serves as the face of the agency and a critical vehicle for meeting FDA’s mission, as it’s home to agency policy and perspectives and information about recalls, safety alerts and important regulatory actions. Ensuring that this content is easy to find is a top priority.

The FDA has attempted to make the FDA.gov website more user friendly, by redesigning not only the functionality, but the way it looks as well. The new FDA site is cleaner and the overall layout is less distracting and the content is much more contemporary.

The goals for the new FDA.gov website include:

https://www.fda.gov/

  • Remodeled webpages that can be viewed on any internet-ready device
  • Easier access to popular content
  • Updated navigation based on data and audience behavior
  • Easier to find FDA content in search results
  • Better consistency of FDA content across web and social channels

The FDA.gov website refresh centers around the migration to a new web content management system (WCMS). The current WCMS is end-of-life and we are replacing it with a new modern publishing platform.

Here are some of the things we are doing to improve FDA.gov:

  • Using data to archive and expire webpages that aren’t being used, consolidating similar content/renaming page titles to reduce redundancy so it’s easier for online audiences to find what they are looking for.
  • Adding stronger and more relevant metadata to the webpages to optimize them for search and social media.
  • Updating FDA.gov’s design to provide more visuals and interactive content. Overall the site will have a more modern look-and-feel. FDA content will appear consistently regardless of web and social channels.
  • Upgrading to a modern publishing platform ensures that our content is accessible anywhere, anytime and on any device.

WHAT THE FDA DOES AND LINKS TO RESOURCES.GOV

FDA Mission

The Food and Drug Administration is responsible for protecting the public health by ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, and medical devices; and by ensuring the safety of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation.

FDA also has responsibility for regulating the manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of tobacco products to protect the public health and to reduce tobacco use by minors.

FDA is responsible for advancing the public health by helping to speed innovations that make medical products more effective, safer, and more affordable and by helping the public get the accurate, science-based information they need to use medical products and foods to maintain and improve their health.

FDA also plays a significant role in the Nation’s counterterrorism capability. FDA fulfills this responsibility by ensuring the security of the food supply and by fostering development of medical products to respond to deliberate and naturally emerging public health threats.

FDA’s Regulatory Responsibilities: Laws and Regulations

Product Approval

Recalls, News, and Events

Guidance Documents, Rulemaking, and Freedom of Information

Navigating The New FDA Site

Being a large and diverse agency with aesthetics apart, just keeping track of pathways and names is overwhelming in such a complex website, and it is easy to lose track of what needs to be updated.  The FDA stated that one of the goals was to make the site more friendly to consumers and it has improved. The former site ran banner photos of some topical interest, the new site landing pages feature a topic with a photo array focused on a feature topic. To get to the information, you need to click on the box announcing the feature, not the photos. Key to success for this approach will be topics that change out frequently as well as the topics themselves. This month’s is about children and allergy relief, timely given the time of year and the number of children, but perhaps not as serious as the recall of blood pressure medications.

Each FDA division – DrugsFoodMedical Devices has “featured information” that generally mirrors the FDA landing page (though stylistically there is not consistency across all divisions in terms of layout). For FDA to achieve its consumer friendly goal here they will have to work at providing information that is of interest to consumers and not necessarily just focus on that information FDA wants most to talk about.

Longer, Less Crowded Landing Page – It used to be when you went to FDA’s landing page, you had a LOT of information crammed into the screen offering you pathways in a bunch of different directions at once – from links to speeches to advisory committee information to meetings information to the latest press releases, etc. All of that is still on the landing page, but it is more coherently laid out. That means that there is less splashed in your face on the screen, but the content has been elongated – and you now have to scroll down to find all the bits and pieces. That may not be entirely apparent to some. As you scroll down, you come to additional featured topics beyond the main one mentioned above. Right now one of them includes a link to information about the revamp of the site; a link to information about combatting opioids and one on FDA fostering drug competition. As noted above, these topics fall a little more into the category of things FDA may want to say versus the things we want to hear more about from a consumer perspective. As you scroll down, you come to press announcements (where curiously the title of the section is in smaller type than the titles of the most recent press releases). Scrolling down further takes you past many of the links that were formerly crammed into the landing square of the old site. It is almost all still there, just there more for your leisurely scrolling rather than in your face. But not everything is on the landing page. For that you need the next section.

Menu Function is Key – In the upper right hand corner is the Menu Function. You are going to need this as it is the key to providing you a one-size fits all access to various divisions of the agency. It takes you to a site-map-lite that is actually very helpful if there are some specific things you want to look up. Most notably on the left side are a list of “featured links”. These are vital. They take you not only to guidance documents, but also one is the link that gets you to Advisory Committee information — to the page that is set up for each committee containing such information as the committee roster and meeting notices as well as documents related to specific meetings. To the right of this menu you will also find access to the FDA’s divisions, though it is not called that – instead it is called “Products”. Under that heading you will not see links to “CDER”, “CBER” or the others and where is the Office of Prescription Drug Promotion? Actually CDER, CBER and the others are there, but they are not called that. They are under their generic names (haha) – Drugs, Food, Medical Devices, Radiation-Emitting Products, etc. FDA may want to consider adding the acronyms here. These pages are generally laid out in similar fashion to the initial agency landing page, with a heading that is meant to cover topical information, prompting the user to scroll down to find the bits desired. Here you will find a link as you travel down the page to the Warning and Untitled Letters issued (still only one issued this year so far). The link to the Office of Prescription Drug Promotion exists but not on this page – it is under the About FDA Tab, and then drilling down through organizational structure through CDER there before you find it – here.

Finding Specifics Related to Function in the About FDA Link – One thing you don’t see when you go to the Drug page or the Food page or any of the other division pages is a map for getting to where you want to go within that division (hence the lack of an OPDP link from the Drugs Page). To find that level of detail – to find a specific office that does a specific function, you may have to either conduct a Search (which can offer up a messy slew of links) or go to the About FDA link mentioned above. Here’s the thing – that is in very small letters at the very bottom of the landing page. It is a small, obscure link to an important function. Overall, navigation of the site is less confusing now that everything is removed from a single frame shot. The order of things as you scroll down is pretty logical, though the demarcation of sections is subtle. Of note, if you have links to FDA materials at any site, some of the material may have shifted.

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False Narratives Opioids and Xarelto

Mass Tort Nexus is compiling an evidentiary package for law firms who intend to reject the current Xarelto settlement offer and prepare for trial. This article represents an extremely small segment of what any firm who prepares for trial will have at their disposal; however, we believe most everyone involved in Mass Torts might find the following topic interesting.

It is well known how Big Pharma allegedly promoted a false narrative regarding Opioids and the risk posed by these highly addictive drugs. Despite the fact that thousands of people were dying every year from opioid overdose, doctors seemed unaware that the narrative they had bought into was false.

What might the death toll ultimately be for the new anticoagulants?

We are aware that both the Xarelto primary defendants are also accused of being party to the opioid false narrative conspiracy in opioid litigation complaints.  If Big Pharma can keep doctors prescribing opioids like skittles for decades, despite the rising death toll, how hard could it be to keep doctors prescribing an anticoagulant with a few tweaks to the truth?

Why Did Doctors Prescribe Xarelto and Why do they Continue to Prescribe Xarelto?

The clinical trials for Xarelto did not prove the drug to be superior in efficacy to Warfarin, only “non inferior.” It was not a better drug from an efficacy stand point. Doctors had no reason to switch patients to Xarelto because it “worked better” than Warfarin.

Xarelto is exponentially more expensive that Warfarin, so doctors had to reason to switch patients to Xarelto based on cost.

What were the makers of Xarelto able to claim about their new (unproven in the general patient population) to convince them to switch patients to Xarelto?

  1. No Routine Blood Testing (monitoring.)
  2. No Dietary Restrictions.

What if these claims were false, patients do need routine blood monitoring while on Xarelto?

What if patients taking Xarelto do need to restrict their diet (not consume certain food products?)

Would doctors keep prescribing Xarelto? Probably not, if the arguably false narrative first presented to them was corrected (warned) as having been false. That said, once a claim is made, people, including doctors, are not likely to realize that the claim is no longer being made once they have bought into the claim, unless they are specifically informed that the claim might have been false.

The following will explain why the makers of Xarelto may have stopped claiming (in their television and print ads,) that patients taking Xarelto did not need routine blood testing nor adhere to any dietary restrictions.

We will first review Xarelto television spots beginning in 2013 and more recent ads. Then we will explain why the makers of Xarelto quit claiming that users of their product stopped claiming that:

  1. No Routine Blood Testing (monitoring) was needed.
  2. No dietary restrictions.

You may view a larger selection of ads than those provided below at: https://www.ispot.tv/brands/ISA/xarelto

2013: Xarelto Bob Ad  (both “no routine monitoring” and “no dietary restrictions claims made”.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.ispot.tv/ad/7dJt/xarelto-bob

Start at 16 Seconds, “Bob took Wafarin and made a monthly trip to the clintic to get his blood tested but not anymore.”

Start at  36 Seconds,   “Xarelto is the first and only once per day prescription blood thinner… That does not require rountine Blood Monitoring.”

Start at 57 Seconds, “and there’s no dietary restrictions…Bob can eat the health foods he likes. ”

2014 Mary Ad (both “no routine monitoring” and “no dietary restrictions claims made.”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.ispot.tv/ad/7pGC/xarelto-mary-song-by-arturo-cardelus

Start at 12 Seconds  “Which required monthly testing, but that’s history.”

Start at 56 Seconds “Plus with no Known Dietary Restrictions.”

2015  Arnold Palmer (they did not specifically say no routine testing and dietary restrictions, but they  implied the claims. )

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.ispot.tv/ad/AYGi/xarelto-game-plan-feat-chris-bosh-arnold-palmer-brian-vickers

Start at 29 Seconds (claims worked into general conversation)

article link: https://www.masstortnexus.com/News/366/Did-Xarelto-the-Drug-Arnold-Palmer-Promoted-Lead-to-His-Death?

2016: Jerry West (neither of the claims were made in this ad.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.ispot.tv/ad/ARh_/xarelto-high-risk-of-stroke-featuring-jerry-west

2017  Xarelto “Protect Themselves” ad feature authority figures  (neither of the claims were made in this ad.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.ispot.tv/ad/wtdp/xarelto-protect-themselves

2018  “Learn all you can ad” (we do not think irony was intended), (neither of the claims were made in this ad)

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.ispot.tv/ad/wPmP/xarelto-learn-all-you-can

So Why Did the Makers of Xarelto Quit Making Their “Claims to Fame?”

We will first address why the makers of Xarelto most likely stopped making the “no rountine blood testing (monitoring claim.) This answer to this one is easy; Because the FDA warned them about making this claim.

It is difficult to understand why the makers of Xarelto did not unilaterally determine (and warn that their original messaging no routine blood monitoring needed) might have been misleading based solely on the number of adverse events reported to the FDA since the product’s introduction.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Food and Drug Administration

Silver Spring, MD 20993

Roxanne McGregor-Beck, Director

Johnson & Johnson International, Inc.

1000 Route 202 South

P.O. Box 300

Raritan, New Jersey 08869-0602

 

RE: NDA #202439

XARELTO (rivaroxaban) tablets

MA #215

Dear Ms. McGregor-Beck:

The Office of Prescription Drug Promotion (OPDP) of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reviewed a direct-to-consumer (DTC) print advertisement (K02XS121040 AF) (Print Ad) for XARELTO (rivaroxaban) tablets (Xarelto) submitted by Johnson & Johnson International, Inc. (Johnson & Johnson) on behalf of Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. under cover of Form FDA 2253 and observed during routine surveillance in the January/February 2013 issue of WebMD magazine. The Print Ad is false or misleading because it minimizes the risks associated with Xarelto and makes a misleading claim. Thus, the Print Ad misbrands Xarelto in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), 21 U.S.C. 352(n) and FDA implementing regulations. 21 CFR 202.1(e)(5)(i); (e)(7)(viii), (ix).

Background:

Below is the indication and summary of the most serious and most common risks associated with the use of Xarelto.1 According to its FDA-approved product labeling (PI), in pertinent part:

Xarelto is indicated to reduce the risk of stroke and systemic embolism in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation.

There are limited data on the relative effectiveness of XARELTO and warfarin in reducing the risk of stroke and systemic embolism when warfarin therapy is well controlled.

 The PI for Xarelto contains Boxed Warnings regarding increased risk of stroke after discontinuation in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation and the risk of spinal/epidural

hematoma. The PI also contains Contraindications regarding active pathological bleeding and severe hypersensitivity reaction to Xarelto, as well as Warnings and Precautions regarding the risk of bleeding, use in patients with renal impairment and hepatic impairment, use with P-gp and strong CYP3A4 inhibitors or inducers, and risk of pregnancy related hemorrhage. The most common adverse reactions with Xarelto were bleeding complications.

Minimization of Risk Information

 Promotional materials are false or misleading if they fail to present risks associated with a drug with a prominence and readability reasonably comparable with the presentation of information relating to the benefits of the drug. Factors impacting prominence and readability include typography, layout, contrast, headlines, paragraphing, white space, and other techniques apt to achieve emphasis. The Print ad prominently presents various efficacy claims for Xarelto, such as, but not limited to, the following, that are presented in large, bolded and/or colorful text and graphics (emphasis original):

• “If you have atrial fibrillation (AFib)”

• “Ready to break your AFib routine?”

• “XARELTO® is the first and only once-a-day prescription blood thinner for patients with AFib not caused by a heart valve problem, that is proven to reduce

the risk of stroke—without routine blood monitoring.”

• “…With XARELTO®, there’s no routine blood monitoring—so you have more time for yourself. There are no dietary restrictions, so you’re free to enjoy the healthy foods you love. And there are no dosage adjustments, which means you can manage your risk with just one pill a day, taken with your evening meal. Learn how XARELTO® can help simplify your AFib-related stroke risk treatment….”

In contrast, the risk information is presented on the preceding adjacent page without any of the emphasis (i.e. color scheme, borders, layout, and graphics) used with the efficacy claims. The result is a presentation which appears unconnected to the efficacy claims and is therefore not likely to draw readers’ attention. This overall presentation misleadingly  minimizes the risks associated with Xarelto because it fails to convey this important risk information with a prominence and readability reasonably comparable to the efficacy claims. We note that the Print Ad contains the statement, “Please see accompanying Medication Guide on the following pages” (emphasis original) at the bottom of the page, and that risk information is presented on an adjacent page, but this is not sufficient to mitigate the overall misleading presentation.

Misleading Claim

 The Print Ad includes the following claim (emphasis original):

• “And there are no dosage adjustments…”

The above claim misleadingly suggests that dosage adjustments are not necessary with Xarelto. However, according to the DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION section of the PI, the dose should be lowered to 15 mg once daily for patients with renal impairment who may have a CrCL of 15 to 50 mL/min. In addition, the WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS section of the PI states, “…Periodically assess renal function as clinically indicated…and adjust therapy accordingly….” Thus, patients with renal impairment may need to have their dosage adjusted while on Xarelto therapy.

Conclusion and Requested Action

For the reasons discussed above, the Print Ad misbrands Xarelto in violation of the FD&C Act, 21 U.S.C. 352(n) and FDA implementing regulations. 21 CFR 202.1(e)(5)(i); (e)(7)(viii), (ix). OPDP requests that Johnson & Johnson immediately cease the dissemination of violative promotional materials for Xarelto such as those described above. Please submit a written response to this letter on or before June 20, 2013, stating whether you intend to comply with this request, listing all promotional materials (with the 2253 submission date) for Xarelto that contain violations such as those described above, and explaining your plan for discontinuing use of such violative materials.

Please direct your response to the undersigned at the Food and Drug Administration,

Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Office of Prescription Drug Promotion, 5901-B Ammendale Road, Beltsville, Maryland 20705-1266 or by facsimile at (301) 847-8444. To ensure timely delivery of your submissions, please use the full address above and include a prominent directional notation (e.g. a sticker) to indicate that the submission is intended for OPDP. Please refer to MA# 215 in addition to the NDA number in all future correspondence relating to this particular matter. OPDP reminds you that only written communications are considered official. The violations discussed in this letter do not necessarily constitute an exhaustive list. It is your responsibility to ensure that your promotional materials for Xarelto comply with each applicable requirement of the FD&C Act and FDA implementing regulations.

Sincerely,

{See appended electronic signature page}

Zarna Patel, Pharm.D.

Regulatory Review Officer

Office of Prescription Drug Promotion

{See appended electronic signature page}

Amy Toscano, Pharm.D., RAC, CPA

Team Leader

Office of Prescription Drug Promotion

____________________________________________________________________________________

It is difficult to understand why the makers of Xarelto did not unilaterally determine (and warn that their original messaging (no routine blood monitoring needed) might have been misleading bases solely on the number of adverse events reported to the FDA since the products introduction.

 

 

 

 

 

https://fis.fda.gov/sense/app/d10be6bb-494e-4cd2-82e4-0135608ddc13/sheet/59a37af8-d2bb-4dee-90bf-6620b1d5542f/state/analysis

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://fis.fda.gov/sense/app/d10be6bb-494e-4cd2-82e4-0135608ddc13/sheet/59a37af8-d2bb-4dee-90bf-6620b1d5542f/state/analysis

Having not corrected their prior claims (warned) related to the need for routine blood testing (monitoring) the makers of Xarelto did add the words underlined (below) to the label for Xarelto NDA -022406 in November of 2018. This statement in no way corrects the arguably false prior statements related to “No Routine Blood Testing” needed.  This statement simply warns that many of the common “blood monitoring tests used” are not recommended for individuals using Xarelto. A more accurate statement might have been: “These tests have no diagnostic value for individuals on Xarelto,” as the drug skews the test, and not in a predictable fashion, which would allow for adjustment of the test results.

Do these two statements seem the same to you?

  1. No Routine Blood Monitoring Needed with Xarelto.
  2. The test routinely used for anticoagulation monitoring has no diagnostic value for individuals taking Xarelto.

Which of the above two statements would likely increase revenues from the drug and which one would likely have the opposite effect?

11/07/2018 (SUPPL-29)

Approved Drug Label (PDF)

5 Warnings and Precautions

5.2 Risk of Bleeding

Reversal of Anticoagulant Effect

Additions and/or revisions underlined:

… anticoagulant activity of rivaroxaban. Use of procoagulant reversal agents, such as prothrombin complex concentrate (PCC), activated prothrombin complex concentrate or recombinant factor VIIa, may be considered but has not been evaluated in clinical efficacy and safety studies. Monitoring for the anticoagulation effect of rivaroxaban using a clotting test (PT, INR or aPTT) or anti-factor Xa (FXa) activity is not recommended.

https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cder/safetylabelingchanges/index.cfm?event=searchdetail.page&DrugNameID=287

“Now We Turn to “No Dietary Restrictions Necessary”

 06/28/2017 (SUPPL-23)

Approved Drug Label (PDF)

5 Warnings and Precautions

5.2 Risk of Bleeding

(additions underlined)

(excerpts)

5.6 Use with P-gp and Strong CYP3A4 Inhibitors or Inducers

(additions underlined)

Avoid concomitant use of XARELTO with known combined P-gp and strong CYP3A4 inhibitors.

Avoid concomitant use of XARELTO with drugs that are known combined P-gp and strong CYP3A4 inducers.

7 Drug Interactions

7.1 General Inhibition and Induction Properties

(additions underlined)

Rivaroxaban is a substrate of CYP3A4/5, CYP2J2, and the P-gp and ATP-binding cassette G2 (ABCG2) transporters. Combined P-gp and strong CYP3A4 inhibitors increase exposure to rivaroxaban and may increase the risk of bleeding. Combined P-gp and strong CYP3A4 inducers decrease exposure to rivaroxaban and may increase the risk of thromboembolic events.

7.2 Drugs that Inhibit Cytochrome P450 3A4 Enzymes and Drug Transport Systems

Interaction with Combined P-gp and Moderate CYP3A4 Inhibitors in Patients with Renal Impairment

XARELTO should not be used in patients with CrCl 15 to <80 mL/min who are receiving concomitant combined P-gp and moderate CYP3A4 inhibitors (e.g., erythromycin) unless the potential benefit justifies the potential risk.

End excerpt

What is the significance of the above?

The inducers make the user more susceptible to clots (ischemic stroke, DVT, PE, etc.)

The inhibitors make the user more likely to bleed.

On a side note, the GI tract is significant to the actions of CYPE4A as well as P-gp. And if you remember from above, what was the most reported AE with Xarelto:

 

So what does the use of Strong and Moderate CYP34A and P-gp Inhibitors and Inducers have to do with dietary restrictions?

Most everyone is familiar with the fact that some drugs carry a warning about restricting grapefruit juice from your diet while on the given drug (i.e. statins).

The relation to the above and the “no dietary restrictions” claim, that the makers of Xarelto use to promote their drug (and then stopped making but did not correct the narrative) is simple. There are numerous foods which are CYP34A, and P-gp inhibitors and/or inducers. We provide a small sampling of foods and dietary supplements below.

The dietary restrictions associated with Warfarin restricted foods high in Vitamin K, like Kale (yummy Kale).

Xarelto Potential Food Restrictions

It is worth nothing that due to genetic differences, the strength of a given CYP34A and P-gp Inhibitor or Inducer necessary to interfere with a drug is not the same for everyone. Women as a general rule are more susceptible to the effects of CYP34A and P-gp Inhibitors or Inducers than men.

Grape Fruit Juice: Inhibits CYP34A and P-gp Seville Orange Juice CYP34A and P-gp
Lime Juice Inhibits CYP34A Lemon Juice Inhibits CYP34A
Pomegranate Juice Inhibits CYP34A Star Fruit Juice Inhibits CYP34A
Kiwi Juice Inhibits CYP34A Passion Fruit Juice Inhibits CYP34A
 St. John’s wort Induction of P-gp Ginkgo Biloba Induces P-gp

 In addition to food interactions Approximately 50% of prescription drugs either induce or inhibit CYP34A or P-gp.

While many drugs are deactivated by CYP3A4, there are also some drugs which are activated by the enzyme. Some substances, such as grapefruit juice and some drugs, interfere with the action of CYP3A4. These substances will therefore either amplify or weaken the action of those drugs that are modified by CYP3A4.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CYP3A4

So, what the Xarelto label (warnings) universally adequate in 2015, 2016 or today?

We think not!

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Xarelto Settlement: Dead on Arrival?

April 15, 2019

(Mass Tort Nexus Media) Bayer and Johnson & Johnson both issued press releases on March 25th indicating to the public, as well as stockholders and analysts, that the companies had reached a settlement to resolve approximately 25,000 claims related to Xarelto. This announcement was arguably highly misleading, in that the agreement reached has not actually resulted in the settlement of a single Xarelto lawsuit (to the best of our knowledge) and certainly not 25,000 cases.

This was the headline in Reuters:  Bayer, J&J settle U.S. Xarelto litigation for $775 million,see Reuters.com/article/us-bayer-xarelto/bayer-jj-settle-us-xarelto-litigation-for-$775-million

At the time of press release, in which Bayer and Johnson & Johnson led the public and the market to believe they had resolved (settled) 25,000 pending Xarelto lawsuits, the overwhelming majority of firms representing those 25,000 clients had yet to receive significant details related to the proposed settlement, and of course had yet to present any offer to their individual clients, who would have to accept any offer made before a case could actually be settled.

Law Firms attending the Mass Torts Made Perfect conference in Las Vegas last week received more details related to the defendants proposed settlement and the reaction was not positive.

Large Scale Rejection of Proposed Settlement?

Mass Tort Nexus has spoken with a great a number of firms who were in attendance at MTMP, as well as numerous others since that time, and the clear indication that we have received would lead us to the conclusion that it is highly unlikely that the defendants proposed settlement will be accepted by enough firms (or rather their clients), to make going forward with the current proposed settlement anything other than a waste of time.

Law Firms that have been in contact with Mass Tort Nexus have indicated that they will fulfill their duty to present any offer made by defendants for their cases to the individual clients; however, they will not likely recommend that clients accept the offers made under the proposed settlement scheme. Many of the firms made colorful comments that we will not publish; however, there was a common theme among the comments:

“I would feel like I was selling out my clients if I recommend they accept the current offer the defendants have made.”

Others went as far as to say:

“I think it would be malpractice to recommend that clients accept the final amounts likely to be offered in this settlement scheme”

Dilemma for Bayer and Johnson & Johnson

The premature and arguably misleading public announcement, which would likely be considered official stock holder guidance, may create additional problems for the corporations already plagued by legal woes, which pose risks to their respective stock prices and stock holder value. If the proposed Xarelto settlement does fall through, as it appears will likely be the case, the companies will be faced with having to walk back previous positive news  “We have resolved the risk associated with the Xarelto litigation” to “not only have we not resolved the risk associated with the Xarelto litigation, but that risk may now be more significant than it was before we proposed a settlement, and many plaintiffs firms see it as more of an insult than an offer.”

If the proposed settlement was even close to something plaintiffs might except in significant numbers, Bayer and J&J might have been in a position to “tweak the settlement” and avoid having to deliver bad news to their stockholders and the public. Unfortunately for Bayer and J&J, the proposed settlement seems to be so far from “acceptable” that their only option may be to scrap the current proposed settlement and come back with another proposal, that will not be received with such strong resistance. If the two corporate giants have any hope of salvaging their messaging to the market, they will need to act quickly.

Proposed Settlement Appears to be a “Non-Starter” 

      

For now, it appears that there is no amount of lipstick that would make the proposed Xarelto settlement scheme attractive.  Most of the firms Mass Tort Nexus has spoken to have indicated that the defendants offer is not even a starting point.

 

 

 

 

MTN will provide more information in future articles about the proposed settlement, as well as the reasons a large number of firms do not feel the settlement is fair and just to their clients. At this point in time; however, it seems likely that the proposed Xarelto settlement is:

The Industry Comment

       XARELTO SETTLEMENT

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TEXTURED BREAST IMPLANTS – “An Emerging Mass Tort”

 

France and Canada look to banning sale of textured implants-what’s the next move in the USA?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(MASS TORT NEXUS MEDIA) Recent studies have shown that patients with textured implants face a higher risk of a rare form of cancer called breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA ALCL). BIA ALCL is not a breast cancer but a cancer of the immune system. Plastic surgeons have identified at least 688 cases of BIA ALCL worldwide, as of February 2019. The FDA estimates the risk of BIA ALCL among patients with textured implants as between 1 in 3,817 and 1 in 30,000, but newer data from Australia has placed the risk as high as 1 in 1,000.

Nine deaths from a rare form of cancer have been linked to breast implants, the Food and Drug Administration announced as far back as 2017, the US oversight has not taken the warning seriously, however the international oversight apparently has. Countires around the globe are starting to ban the sale of “textured breast implants” based on the emerging clinical linbks to these implants and cancer. .

Red flags were raised as far back as  2011 regarding the safety of breast implants and their possible link to a type of lymphoma, but the FDA has only now updated information on the risk to women with both silicone and saline breast implants.

As of February 1, 2017, the FDA had received a total of 359 reports related to breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma — a rare cancer of the immune system — including nine deaths, the agency said in a statement. ALCL is not a form of breast cancer, but it grows in the breast in implant patients.

The FDA says the exact number of cases of the disease remains difficult to determine due limitations in the reporting of breast implant sales data. Estimates of the frequency of the disease range from 1 in 3,000 women to 1 in 30,000, according to the Associated Press. The cancer is treatable with the removal of implants, though nearly a dozen deaths have occurred.

Additionally, thousands of women have blamed breast implants for a range of other health ailments, including rheumatoid arthritis, pain and chronic fatigue. In documents released before the meeting, the FDA contends “at the present time, there is not sufficient evidence to show an association between breast implants and rheumatologic or connective tissue disease diagnoses.”

A recent study published in JAMA Oncology concluded that  found that silicone breast implants with a textured surface are 400-times more likely to cause a rare type of cancer compared to silicone breast implants with a smooth surface.

Approximately 1 out of every 26 women in the United States have breast implants.

The primary makers of breast implants approved for use in the United States include:

Allergan, Inc.

Ideal Implant, Inc.

Mentor World Wide, LLC

Sientra, Inc.

Breast augmentation remains the most common cosmetic surgical procedure in the U.S. with more than 300,000 performed each year, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

The meeting comes a week after the FDA sent warning letters to two breast implant manufacturers for their failure to comply with requirements to conduct long-term studies assessing the safety of silicone gel-filled implants.

International Review

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists revealed the ongoing health problems plaguing women with breast implants as part of its global Implant Files investigation in November 2018, and has covered breast implant safety extensively in the aftermath. In the wake of the investigation, health authorities from France to Brazil to the United States recently announced initiatives to better protect patient health.

Health Canada is advising a manufacturer of breast implants that it could soon ban the sale of its product in Canada because of a possible link to a

The Biocell implants, manufactured by Allergan, have a slightly textured surface, designed to adhere better to the surrounding tissue. Health Canada intends to remove them from the market as a precautionary measure, to “protect Canadians from the rare but serious risk of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL)” the department wrote in a news releaseThursday.

Of 28 confirmed cases of BIA-ALCL reported to Health Canada, 24 involved that particular implant, the department said.

 Quebec contacting women with textured breast implants to warn of cancer risk

BIA-ALCL is not a cancer of the breast tissue, but rather a rare type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that can develop months or years after the implants were put in. It usually leads to an accumulation of fluid inside the breast. It’s generally treated by carefully removing the implant and fluid containing the cancerous cells. In some cases, it can spread throughout the body, warranting chemotherapy treatment, according to the World Health Organization.

WATCH: Winnipeg woman says breast implants ruined her life and her health

 

 

 

 

 

 

Health Canada will allow Allergan 15 days to present medical evidence about the implants’ safety. If the evidence isn’t “satisfactory,” Health Canada intends to suspend their medical license, meaning the product would no longer be permitted for sale in Canada.

France also announced that it intends to ban textured breast implants earlier this week.

 Breast implant safety under review by U.S. authorities

Health Canada is currently reviewing breast implant safety and BIA-ALCL and plans to present its entire report by the end of April. A second report looking at other symptoms reported among recipients of breast implants will be released this summer, according to the press release.

 Bowmanville woman wants Health Canada to push awareness of ‘breast implant illness’

If you have breast implants, Health Canada recommends that you speak with your surgeon to find out what type of implant you have received. If you experience any unusual changes to your breasts, you should contact a health-care professional and discuss any decisions about implant removal with them too.

Nearly all the lymphoma cases have occurred in women who had implants with a textured surface, rather than a smooth one. Textured implants made by Allergan, a major manufacturer, were taken off the market in Europe in December. Smooth implants are used more often than textured ones in the United States.

 FDA NOTICE ON TEXTURED IMPLANTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 20, 2019

FDA News Release March 20, 2019

FDA issues warning letters to two breast implant manufacturers for failure to comply with post-approval study requirements

For Immediate Release

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued warning letters to two breast implant manufacturers for failure to comply with their requirements, under their premarket approval orders, to conduct post-approval studies to assess the long-term safety and risks of their silicone gel-filled breast implants.

The FDA issued warning letters to Mentor Worldwide LLC of Irvine, California, and Sientra, Inc. of Santa Barbara, California.  Every manufacturer of approved silicone gel-filled breast implants is required to conduct post-approval studies to further evaluate safety and effectiveness of the products and to answer additional scientific questions about the long-term safety and potential risks of breast implants that their premarket clinical trials were not designed to answer.

“Post-approval requirements are critical to ensuring the safety and effectiveness of the medical products we regulate and we’ll continue to hold manufacturers accountable when they fail to fulfill these obligations,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. “We’re issuing these warning letters based on the manufacturers’ low recruitment, poor data, and low follow-up rates in their required post-approval studies. We expect these manufacturers to meet the pre-specified study requirements in order to ensure the collection of long-term data that can be used to inform long-term patient safety.  Post-approval studies, along with other surveillance tools such as adverse event reports, registries, and scientific literature, allow the FDA to help ensure the safety of medical devices and protect patients.”

The FDA’s warning letter to Mentor Worldwide LLC (Mentor) noted several serious deficiencies in the manufacturer’s post-approval study for its MemoryShape breast implant, first approved in 2013, including that the manufacturer had failed to enroll the required number of patients in the study. The action also notes Mentor had poor follow-up rates with patients in the study. Finally, the FDA notified Mentor that there were significant data inconsistencies in the study, including poor patient accounting and missing race and ethnicity data. While the FDA had concluded after reviewing several interim study reports submitted by Mentor that progress on the post-approval study appeared adequate at that time, the agency advised Mentor of concerns about patient enrollment, follow-up rates and data inconsistencies.

Mentor’s failure to address these concerns and comply with its post-approval study requirements is a violation of the firm’s pre-market approval order.

The FDA’s warning letter to Sientra, Inc. (Sientra) noted a serious deficiency in the manufacturer’s post-approval study for its Silicone Gel Breast Implants, first approved in 2013. The manufacturer had poor follow-up rates with patients. Currently, the manufacturer reported a follow-up rate of 61 percent, which is below the target follow-up rate. In the response to the manufacturer’s most recent interim study report, the FDA notified the manufacturer that the study progress was inadequate because of low follow-up rates. Sientra’s failure to address these concerns and comply with its post-approval study requirements is a violation of the firm’s pre-market approval order.

The FDA requested responses from both manufacturers within 15 working days of the issuance of the warning letters, with details about how the noted violations will be corrected. The FDA may take action for a failure to comply with post-approval orders, including pursuing applicable criminal and civil penalties, where appropriate.

The FDA’s actions today are part of the agency’s ongoing commitment to its public health mission of ensuring patient access to safe and effective medical devices. As part of the Medical Device Safety Action Plan, the FDA committed to streamlining and modernizing how the agency implements postmarket actions to address device safety issues to make responses to risks more timely and effective, including taking actions against manufacturers when their postmarket studies are non-compliant with any study requirements. The FDA has issued several warning letters in recent years to manufacturers who did not adequately fulfill certain postmarket study requirements, reflecting the agency’s commitment to take more aggressive actions against manufacturers who fail to comply.

In addition to the required post-approval studies, the FDA has taken additional steps to ensure the agency is monitoring the safety and risks of breast implants. For instance, FDA staff have coordinated with the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the Plastic Surgeons Foundation to develop the Patient Registry and Outcomes for Breast Implants and Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) Etiology and Epidemiology (PROFILE), which collects real world data regarding patients who have a confirmed diagnosis of BIA-ALCL. The data collected from this registry, have contributed to a better understanding of BIA-ALCL and FDA communication updatesto the public regarding BIA-ALCL.

Additionally, the FDA has worked with multiple stakeholders to facilitate the development of the National Breast Implant Registry (NBIR) to provide a platform for collecting additional real world data on the safety and performance of breast implants. This newly launched registry will greatly add to the information we collect in our own post-approval studies about the long-term safety of breast implants, and potentially enhance our understanding of the long term safety and risks associated with breast implants.

The FDA remains committed to thoughtful, scientific, transparent, public dialogue concerning breast implant safety and effectiveness. The FDA welcomes public dialogue about breast implant safety and risk at the upcoming public meeting of the General and Plastic Surgery Devices Panel at the FDA’s headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland on March 25-26, 2019, which will also be available via webcast.

Health care professionals and consumers should report any adverse events related to breast implants to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program.  The FDA monitors these reports and takes appropriate action necessary to ensure the safety of medical products in the marketplace.

End of FDA Release

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Mass Tort Nexus “CLE Immersion Course”

May 31 – June 3, 2019 at The Riverside Hotel in Fort Lauderdale , FL

For class attendance information please contact Barbara Capasso at 954.530.9892 or Barbara@masstortnexus.com.

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FDA identifies harm reported from sudden discontinuation of opioid pain medicines and requires label changes to guide prescribers on gradual, individualized tapering

fda-logo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FDA identifies harm reported from sudden discontinuation of opioid pain medicines and requires label changes to guide prescribers on gradual, individualized tapering

Safety Announcement

[4-9-2019] The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received reports of serious harm in patients who are physically dependent on opioid pain medicines suddenly having these medicines discontinued or the dose rapidly decreased. These include serious withdrawal symptoms, uncontrolled pain, psychological distress, and suicide.

While we continue to track this safety concern as part of our ongoing monitoring of risks associated with opioid pain medicines, we are requiring changes to the prescribing information for these medicines that are intended for use in the outpatient setting. These changes will provide expanded guidance to health care professionals on how to safely decrease the dose in patients who are physically dependent on opioid pain medicines when the dose is to be decreased or the medicine is to be discontinued.

Rapid discontinuation can result in uncontrolled pain or withdrawal symptoms. In turn, these symptoms can lead patients to seek other sources of opioid pain medicines, which may be confused with drug-seeking for abuse. Patients may attempt to treat their pain or withdrawal symptoms with illicit opioids, such as heroin, and other substances.

Opioids are a class of powerful prescription medicines that are used to manage pain when other treatments and medicines cannot be taken or are not able to provide enough pain relief. They have serious risks, including abuse, addiction, overdose, and death. Examples of common opioids include codeine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, morphine, oxycodone, and oxymorphone.

Health care professionals should not abruptly discontinue opioids in a patient who is physically dependent. When you and your patient have agreed to taper the dose of opioid analgesic, consider a variety of factors, including the dose of the drug, the duration of treatment, the type of pain being treated, and the physical and psychological attributes of the patient. No standard opioid tapering schedule exists that is suitable for all patients. Create a patient-specific plan to gradually taper the dose of the opioid and ensure ongoing monitoring and support, as needed, to avoid serious withdrawal symptoms, worsening of the patient’s pain, or psychological distress (For tapering and additional recommendations, see Additional Information for Health Care Professionals).

Patients taking opioid pain medicines long-term should not suddenly stop taking your medicine without first discussing with your health care professional a plan for how to slowly decrease the dose of the opioid and continue to manage your pain. Even when the opioid dose is decreased gradually, you may experience symptoms of withdrawal (See Additional Information for Patients). Contact your health care professional if you experience increased pain, withdrawal symptoms, changes in your mood, or thoughts of suicide.

We are continuing to monitor this safety concern and will update the public if we have new information. Because we are constantly monitoring the safety of opioid pain medicines, we are also including new prescribing information on other side effects including central sleep apnea and drug interactions. We are also updating information on proper storage and disposal of these medicines that is currently available on our
Disposal of Unused Medicines webpage.

To help FDA track safety issues with medicines, we urge patients and health care professionals to report side effects involving opioids or other medicines to the FDA MedWatch program, using the information in the “Contact FDA” box at the bottom of the page.

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