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Pfizer’s Trovan Appeal to U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Out

A group of Nigerian families will be able to sue Pfizer Inc. in a US courtroom for injuries and deaths they claim were the result of a non-consensual drug trial involving the antibiotic Trovan. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Pfizer’s appeal of a lower court’s decision to let the Trovan lawsuit proceed.

The families of around 200 Nigerian children wanted to have the case heard in the US, citing widespread corruption in their home country. According to the Christian Science Monitor, the suit was filed under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), a 200-year-old law which empowers federal judges to hear civil lawsuits filed by non-US citizens for violations of the “law of nations.” (more…)

Some BP Oil Spill Operations Halted Thanks to Hurricane Alex

Skimming and clean-up efforts in areas affected by the BP oil spill have come to a halt, thanks to the first hurricane of the Atlantic season. Though Hurricane Alex as expected to come ashore near the Texas/Mexico boarder, some 500 miles from the spill site, seas were too rough for skimming operations and controlled burns to continue.

According to a Bloomberg report, BP has been collecting oil from the stricken well a mile beneath the Gulf of Mexico, and funneling it to the Discoverer Enterprise and the Q4000 drilling rigs. BP is also working to connect a containment cap to the Helix Producer, a vessel that can collect an additional 20,000 to 25,000 barrels of oil a day. About three more days is needed to complete the process, but the rough seas are delaying the work, Bloomberg said. (more…)

Oil Spill Compensation Fund Not What it Seemed

A compensation fund set up for the victims of the BP oil spill is not everything it’s been presented to be, according to a partner with the law firm charged with administering it. It seems BP can used the fund to pay for any costs associated with the spill including clean up and litigation.

“My present understanding is … that it is available for all manner of costs,” Michael Rozen, a partner with the Feinberg Rozen law firm, recently told Reuters. (more…)

Benicar Faces FDA Review

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is reviewing the blood pressure medicine Benicar because of a possible connection to heart-related death.

According to the agency, the increased death risk was seen in two long-term clinical trials, ROADMAP and ORIENT. In ROADMAP, which involved 4,400 patients divided about evenly between those taking Benicar or placebo, there were 15 heart-related deaths in the drug group versus three on placebo. In ORIENT, which involved 557 patients, there were 10 heart deaths in the Benicar group compared with three on placebo. (more…)

President, Others Want BP to Create Oil SPill Compensation Fund

The federal government is pushing BP to insure that the people and businesses impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill are reimbursed for their losses. A variety of officials – including President Obama – are pushing the oil giant to set up a compensation fund for victims of the disaster.

According to the Associated Press, oil workers unable to work because there’s no deepwater drilling, stores without shoppers, hotels without guests, fishermen without clean water to fish, and states without expected revenue, could all benefit from such a fund. (more…)

Judge Calls New WTC Settlement “A Very Good Deal”

A $712.5 million settlement has been reached in thousands of lawsuits filed on behalf of injured World Trade Center rescue workers. U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein, who had ordered that an earlier settlement proposal be renegotiated, has granted the new settlement preliminary approval.

NBC New York is reporting that attorneys have agreed to reduce their fees from 33 percent to 25 percent of the settlement, while WTC Captive Insurance has agreed to add a minimum of $50 million more to the pot for victim compensation. That number could go up to $100 million depending on how many clients agree to accept the settlement, the report said. (more…)

BP Faces Financial Pressure From Oil Spill

Could the Deepwater Horizon oil spill push BP into bankruptcy? Investors in the oil giant are jittery, and at least one analyst says it’s a real possibility.

The cost of the response effort to date has been around $1.43 billion. Recently, respected oil industry analyst Matt Simmons told “Fortune” magazine that a bankruptcy is a real possibility. (more…)

Worker Killed in Texas Gas Pipeline Explosion

The safety of natural gas drilling is being called into question again, following yesterday’s pipeline explosion in Cleburne, Texas. The blast, which involved a large transmission pipeline used to transport natural gas long distances, killed one worker on a crew that had been igging to replace power-line poles.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Cleburne, in rural Johnson County, is in an area of Texas that has experienced a boom in natural gas drilling in recent years. It was the third gas-related explosion in the U.S. within four days, the Journal said. One incident, a well blow out in Pennsylvania on June 3, caused state officials to call a temporary halt to drilling by EOG Resources Inc. The second occurred at a well in West Virginia on Sunday night, injuring seven workers. (more…)

BP Was Wrong About Existance of Oil Plumes

Despite BP’s denials that they existed, it has now been confirmed by government scientists that plumes of oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill have formed below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. At a briefing today, an official with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said the government will now work on where the subsurface oil is and where it is drifting.

Various scientists have reported the presence of undersea oil plumes in the weeks following the April 20 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion. But this is the first time such plumes have been confirmed by a government agency. (more…)

BP Moving Oil Spill Containment Dome Into Place

BP has begun maneuvering a containment dome over a gushing oil well 5,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. It is the oil giant’s latest attempt to curb the massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The procedure, dubbed by some a “cut and cap” hit a snag yesterday when a robotic diamond-edged saw became stuck in an attempt to make the second of two cuts in a 20-inch pipe leaking oil on the sea floor. It took about 12 hours for engineers to free the saw from the pipe. They then completed the cut with giant shears. (more…)

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