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Settlement Reached in California Disability Claims Case

The California Department of Insurance has announced that Life Insurance Company of North America has agreed to a $600,000 settlement to resolve charges it mishandled disability claims.

“Individuals purchase long term disability insurance to protect themselves and their families in the event they become disabled and are unable to work,” California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner sai in a statement. “When insurance companies fail to follow the law in fairly and expeditiously adjusting these claims, it has a devastating impact on policyholders and their families. I am pleased that LINA (Life Insurance Company of North America) has taken responsibility for its actions and has implemented changes in its policies, procedures and practices. The Department will continue to monitor the actions of all insurers selling and marketing disability insurance in the state of California.” (more…)

Cervarix Batch Recalled Following British Death

GlaxoSmithKline is recalling one batch of its Cervarix cervical cancer vaccine following the the death of British girl.  However, the company maintains that that incident played no role in the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) to delay making a decision on whether or not to approve  Cervarix  for use in this country.

If approved in the U.S., Cervarix would compete with Merck & Co.’s Gardasil, which the FDA ok’d in 2006.  According to the Associated Press,  the FDA was supposed to announce its Cervarix ruling on Tuesday, but  needed additional data.  Earlier this month, an outside panel of health experts voted that Cervarix appears safe and effective for girls and women ages 10 to 25.   The vaccine is already approved in 100 other countries. (more…)

Toyota to Issue Its Largest U.S. Safety Recall

Toyota will soon be issuing its largest-ever U.S. safety recall.  According to the Detroit Free Press, the recall will involve some 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles with potentially defective floor mats.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), it has received reports of 102 incidents in Toyota vehicles from 2004-09 model years involving floor mats interfering with pedals.  A third of those incidents involved the Lexus ES 350, the Free Press said.  The vehicles affected by this issue are: (more…)

Chinese Drywall Lawyers Consider Options In Case Manufacturers Ignore Suits

Some Chinese drywall manufacturers may have a simple strategy for fighting lawsuits filed against them over the defective material – they may simply not respond.

There are a number of options attorneys are considering should Chinese drywall manufacturers ignore lawsuits filed here, the Associated Press said.  These include filing claims against U.S. investment bankers who financed the Chinese companies, and seizing ships that brought the drywall to U.S. ports.  One attorney interviewed by the Associated Press said such moves could be a way of  “getting the missing parties to the table.”  Another attorney told the Associated Press that considering the billions of dollars at stake, a way would be found to make Chinese manufacturers responsive. (more…)

Possible Yaz-Related Death Sparks Swiss Investigation

Bayer is facing more trouble over Yaz lawsuits, this time a Swiss probe following the “sudden” death of a young woman who had been taking the oral contraceptive.

According to a report on Bloomberg.com, Swissmedic and an investigative judge are looking into the death. The victim had been taking  Yaz for 10 months and died from the affects of a pulmonary embolism she suffered in mid-September.  According to a Reuters report, Swissmedic began investigating all birth control pills after a 16-year-old girl was disabled by a lung embolism in May after taking Yaz.

(more…)

More Than 3,000 Death Claims will be Paid from Vioxx Settlement Fund

The law firm administering the $4.85 billion Vioxx settlement has reported that the families of more than 3,000 people who died while taking the drug will receive payments from the fund.

“We don’t know any drug right now with this number of deaths associated with it,” one plaintiffs’ attorney who has represented Vioxx victims told Bloomberg.com. (more…)

KB Homes: 140 Homes Have Chinese Drywall Issues

About 140 homes  built by KB Homes have issues with Chinese drywall, the company disclosed Friday. During a conference call to discuss earnings, KB Home executives said most of its homes reporting drywall problems were located in Florida, and were built between 2006 and 2007.

The homebuilder said it estimated that its Chinese drywall repair costs will total about $10 million.  It has recorded a charge of $6 million in the third quarter to increase its  warranty liability.  KB Home said it intended to seek reimbursement from various sources for these costs, but has not yet recorded any amounts for potential recoveries because the matter is still in its early stages. (more…)

Enrollment in Avastin Study Stopped

Six women in an Avastin breast cancer clinical trial have developed clinical congestive heart failure, prompting enrollment in the study to  be suspended.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the halted Avastin trial was known as E5103. The late-stage trial was testing Avastin in combination with chemotherapy for treatment of early-stage breast cancer.  The trial was one of eight studying Avastin as a treatment for preventing relapse after surgery, known as adjuvant therapy.  (more…)

Diabetes Drugs Associated with Pancreatitis, FDA Says

The prescribing information for Januvia (sitagliptin) and Janumet (sitagliptin/metformin) will be updated to include information about  cases of acute pancreatitis seen in some patients, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) said today.

Sitagliptin, the first in a new class of diabetic drugs called dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors, is approved as an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus. (more…)

Menaflex Approval to Be Reviewed Following Scathing FDA Report

Political pressure played a large role in the approval of  ReGen Biologics Inc.’s Menaflex knee device, according to a newly-released report from the Food &  Drug Administration (FDA).

As we’ve reported previously, ReGen’s 510(K) application for Menaflex was rejected by FDA scientists on three occasions, with the agency’s staff asserting it wasn’t eligible for the process. But several New Jersey Democrats – Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, and Reps. Steve Rothman and Frank Pallone Jr. – contacted the FDA in 2007 and 2008 to encourage it to speed its review of the ReGen device, The Wall Street Journal said.  Agency managers  ultimately overruled the scientists and approved Menaflex in December. (more…)

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