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Heart Devices Top Recall Lists

A recent report reveals cardiovascular devices are the most commonly recalled medical products. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) report is based on recall data from 2005 through 2009 in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recall enterprise system. The reviewed data shows cardiac devices are the most common source of FDA device recalls and demonstrates that the agency “could take a more proactive approach to its oversight,” says the report.

Physicians criticize the system saying its obvious tracking device problems and recalls are not a priority. The report is particularly focused on the FDA’s lack of knowledge in using the recall enterprise system (RES). (more…)

Nature Relief Instant Wart and Mole Remover May Cause Chemical Burns

Consumers who purchased Nature Relief Instant Wart and Mole Remover should immediately discontinue their use and discard the remaining contents, says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

On Monday, the agency notified the public of a voluntary recall conducted by the company Nature Relief in conjunction with the federal agency. The company and the FDA advise consumers to discontinue use and immediately dispose of used and unused products. (more…)

Morgantown, West Virginia Sued by Natural Gas Drilling Company

A natural gas drilling company is challenging the constitutionality of a West Virginia town’s recent ban on natural gas drilling that involves hydraulic fracturing within a mile outside city limits. On June 21, the Morgantown City Council voted 6-1 to ban drilling at a site along the Monongahela River. Shortly thereafter, Northeast Natural Energy (NNE) filed a lawsuit against the city of Morgantown in Monongalia County Circuit Court requesting a temporary injunction to prevent the city’s ordinance from becoming effective, reported the Associated Press. A judge denied the order without ruling on the plaintiff’s larger arguments.

Hydraulic fracturing has been an issue in Morgantown since residents expressed concerns over the likelihood of contaminated drinking water caused by drilling accidents. In early May, it was revealed that NNE of Charleston received a permit to drill two natural gas wells in the Marcellus Shale which is upriver from the area’s drinking water. (more…)

Study Says Two Diabetes Drug Increase Risk of Eye Disease

Diabetes drugs Actos and Avandia may increase the risk of developing an eye disease that can lead to blindness, reported Bloomberg. A study to be presented Sunday at the American Diabetes Association’s annual meeting, reveals that patients taking either drug have a three to six times increased risk of developing diabetic macular edema (DME).

Actos and Avandia are known to increase the risk of fluid in the lungs and swelling in the legs; therefore, the study authors concluded “patients at high risk of sight-threatening DME should avoid” drugs such as Actos and Avandia. Those at high-risk include patients with issues controlling their blood sugar and those with a previous history of macular edema. (more…)

Energy Companies Overstating Shale Gas Production

Gas companies may be overstating how effortless and economical natural gas extraction is, says the New York Times. Industry consultants and analysts provided e-mails to the Times saying they “believe that the public perception of shale gas does not match reality.”

The emails reveal industry skepticism about whether companies are misleading investors and the public about well production and gas extraction amounts. One email from an analyst compared natural gas drilling to “Ponzi schemes”; while, an analyst from PNC Wealth Management considered the practice “inherently unprofitable.” (more…)

High Court Rules Generic Drug Companies Not Liable Under State Law

In a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a U.S. appeals court decision which allowed generic drug companies to be sued under state law over allegations that they failed to provide adequate label warnings.

The justices were presented with the interesting issue of whether makers of generic drugs, whose products must mimic the warning labels of the corresponding brand-name drugs and who cannot alter those labels, should also be sued under state law for failing to warn users about the risks posed by their products,” reported the New York Times. (more…)

California Senate Committee Passes Fracking Disclosure Bill

A California committee passed a bill requiring gas drilling companies to disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing. Earlier this month, the California Senate Natural Resources Committee passed the bill which is scheduled to appear before the Environmental Quality Committee next week, reported the Los Angeles Times. Currently, there is no law in the state mandating chemical disclosure but other states have approved similar legislation requiring companies to disclose drilling sites, a list of chemicals and the amount of water used in the drilling process. The bill, AB 591, sponsored by Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski will require companies to disclose whether they are drilling near active fault lines and “expose the issue of ‘tremendous water use flowing to the Central Valley that most Californians think is going to irrigate crops,’” said Pamela King Palitz, staff attorney at Environment California. (more…)

High Court Won’t Hear Pfizer Hormone Therapy Appeal

The U.S. Supreme Court denied a Pfizer unit’s appeal for a $58 million award to three women who developed breast cancer after taking menopause drugs Premarin and Prempro. According to Bloomberg, the award is the largest upheld on appeal in any hormone-replacement suit. In 2002, a study sponsored by the U.S. National Institutes of Health showed a 24 percent increased risk of breast cancer in patients using the drugs. At that time, over 6 million women were taking Prempro. In July 2004, Arlene Rowatt, Jeraldine Scofield and Pamela Forrester filed a lawsuit against Pfizer’s Pharmacia & Upjohn unit and Wyeth claiming the companies’ failed to warn consumers the drugs were linked to an increased risk of breast cancer and that upon using the menopause drugs each developed breast cancer, says Bloomberg. The women used the drugs between seven and 15 years before being diagnosed. Pharmacia & Upjohn settled the claims agreeing to pay an undisclosed amount to the three women. (more…)

Texas Fracking Disclosure Bill Signed into Law

On June 17, Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed into law a bill requiring drilling companies to publically disclose the chemicals used on every hydraulic fracturing job in the state. Beginning next year, companies will be required to post their chemical lists on FracFocus.org, a Web site showing what chemicals are used in a particular well, and to “disclose chemicals not included in the site’s database through a separate process,” reported the Wall Street Times. The process of hydraulic fracturing involves pumping a mixture of chemicals, water and sand thousands of feet underground to release trapped oil and gas. The American public has become apprehensive of the process because identity of the chemicals used is often unknown. (more…)

Pennsylvania Considers Fracking Health Registry

Pennsylvania wants to be the first state to create a registry for tracking illnesses related to hydraulic fracturing. Department of Health Secretary Eli Avila says the agency needs additional resources to create a system that will address public concern about health risks associated with gas drilling. The Department of Health made the request to the Marcellus Shale Advisory Committee, reported the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, as the panel finalizes its recommendations for a July 22 report. Secretary Avila said the department has received “several dozen” phone calls from residents who believe their health is deteriorating due to unsafe drilling practices. In order to evaluate these concerns, the agency needs a “comprehensive and scientific approach,” said Avila. (more…)

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