Roundup Verdict Survives Monsanto Appeal

(October 23, 2018) – A Roundup verdict for a California man who was stricken with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after he used Monsanto poisons will stand.  San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos yesterday denied Monsanto’s motion to toss a verdict won this past summer by former groundskeeper DeWayne “Lee” Johnson.  Twelve jurors awarded Mr. Johnson $289 million in total damages in August 2018.

$78.5 Million Award for Monsanto Victim

Monsanto had filed a petition requesting that the judge throw out the entire jury verdict.  The judge instead slashed about $211 million from the $289 million total.  She ruled the jury’s $250 million punitive damages award needed to be reduced to $39.25 million, which was the amount the jury awarded in compensatory damages.  That makes the total award $78.5 million for the Monsanto victim.

Judge Suzanne Bolanos acknowledged the jury’s finding that Monsanto’s herbicides were a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

In her 12-page order, Judge Bolanos reversed course from a tentative ruling she made in a hearing earlier this month.  She had said that Mr. Johnson had not proven Monsanto had acted with malice.  She said she would likely toss the entire punitive damages award.  But the judge ruled instead that that Mr. Johnson had established an “inference” that Monsanto had acted maliciously.  She further explained that the court had not found a case in which a “series of corporate actions and decisions” was found to be insufficient to support punitive damages.

Monsanto Malice Organization-wide
Judge Bolanos wrote in her ruling: “When the entire organization is involved in acts that constitute malice, there is no danger a blameless corporation will be punished for bad acts over which it had no control.”

Judge Bolanos ruled furthermore that it was also reasonable for the jury to conclude that Monsanto acted with malice by continuing to market and sell a dangerous product without a warning.

Nevertheless, Judge Bolanos also ruled the punitive damages must be reduced. She pointed to a 2003 U.S. Supreme Court  ruling in State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance Company v. Campbell, which held that the Fourteenth Amendment limits punitive damages.

Judge Bolanos wrote that when a compensatory damages award is large and primarily for noneconomic damages, the appropriate ratio between compensatory and punitive damages is one-to-one.

She said that if Mr. Johnson did not accept the reduced $39.25 million punitive damages verdict, she would grant Monsanto’s motion for a new trial as to punitive damages only.

First Roundup Cancer Trial

Mr. Johnson’s case was the first to go to trial over Monsanto’s Roundup cancer link.  The California groundskeeper was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2014, after he had sprayed Monsanto’s Ranger Pro and Roundup poisons on Benicia, California school grounds.

Mr. Johnson charged that Monsanto knew of Roundup’s health risks since the 1990s, when studies began showing a link between Roundup and lymphoma.  His lawsuit petition said he used Monsanto products because he thought they were safe, because Monsanto downplayed the known dangers and failed to post a warning label.  Mr. Johnson said that soon after an equipment problem soaked him head-to-toe in Ranger Pro, his skin broke out in blistering lesions.  Doctors testified in the trial that he is dying from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

$289 Million Jury Award

Three days after deliberating in August 2918, a jury awarded Mr. Johnson $39.25 million in compensatory damages and $250 million in punitive damages. The award included $33 million in noneconomic damages, a million for every year of the 46-year-old’s life that he will have lost to cancer.

Monsanto claims Insufficient Evidence
After the verdict, Monsanto moved for either a new trial or a judgment notwithstanding the verdict.  Monsanto lawyers said Mr. Johnson had not given “sufficient and substantial evidence” to show Monsanto herbicides cause cancer.

Judge Bolanos flatly rejected those motions as to the punitive damages.   She also ruled there was no basis to overturn the jury’s finding on liability and toss the verdict in its entirety.

Judge allows Jury System to Work

The judge wrote that it was proper for the jury to rely on testimony from Mr. Johnson’s key causation expert, oncologist Dr. Chadi Nabhan.

Dr. Nabhan used an admissible method to support his conclusion that Roundup caused Mr. Johnson’s cancer, wrote the judge.  “Dr. Nabhan was cross-examined and the defense presented expert witnesses to criticize the basis of Dr. Nabhan’s opinion.  (The) court does not resolve scientific controversies.’ … That is a matter for the jury to resolve.”

Bayer Responds

Bayer AG, which acquired Monsanto this summer, called Judge Bolanos’ ruling “a step in the right direction,” repeated its attorneys’ arguments about a lack of sufficient evidence presented at trial, and said it plans to appeal the judge’s ruling.

Roundup Verdict Survives Monsanto Appeal

The case is Johnson v. Monsanto Co. et al., case number CGC16550128, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of San Francisco.

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Vaccine Maker Fined $1.3 Billion for Fake Vaccines

(Oct. 22, 2018)  China.3 Billion for Fake Vaccines"> imposed a $1.3 billion fine on a company responsible for selling fake vaccines.  Vaccines given to hundreds of thousands of Chinese children were later determined to be expired, or were so soon-to-be-expired that they could not work as advertised – for those who believe that the vaccines in question could be said to work at all.

Related:  Shingles Vaccine?  Really?

The government fined the Changchun Changsheng Biotechnology Company last week amid public furor over the fake vaccines.  The New York Times noted that the scandal comes at a time of increasing anxieties among China’s growing middle class.  Many Chinese were already palpably angry about several recent drug and food safety scandals.

The usual “experts” – like Wang Yuedan,  immunology professor at Peking University, quoted in the NY Times – claim the large fine will help bring “order” to the vaccine industry.  But that ‘apologia’ falls flat in the face of recent history of vaccine fraud in China.

In 2016, about two million improperly stored Chinese vaccines were sold from an overheated, broken-down storeroom.  The main suspect was a hospital pharmacist who had been convicted of trading in illegal vaccines in 2009, then was doing the same thing again two years later.

U.S. Vaccines made in Chinese Facilities

Most U.S. vaccines are now made in Chinese facilities, and the U.S. FDA has virtually no power to oversee their production or test them for safety or efficacy.

Hillary Clinton played the lead role in allowing Chinese vaccine manufacturers to completely bypass US vaccine testing requirements (see The Bolen Report).  After Mrs. Clinton’s “work” in 2014, China was allowed to ship vaccines directly from Chinese factories to American children, with no quality control beyond inspecting the labels.  The lurid details were trumpeted by the WHO as a triumph:  China enters the Global Vaccine Market.

The World Health Organization wrote of the Clinton plan:  “The Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) has been working with Chinese suppliers to support their applications for WHO prequalification for several vaccine candidates for the last two years, says Joshua Chu, CHAI’s Director, Vaccines Markets.”

The Chinese have killed our pets with poisoned dog and cat food, produced tainted rabies vaccines, sickened many thousands of us in our homes with toxic drywall, and sold us expired or sub-standard drugs and vaccines before (if, again, you believe that vaccines work at all).  Our own agencies, like the FDA, have virtually no power to oversee them; yet we are to believe that these vaccines made in China are safe and effective?

Even the Chinese don’t believe their vaccine makers now, or their own government’s ability to keep them safe from vaccine profit seekers.  So, are you really so certain that you should dismiss and attack anyone who questions vaccination?

Do you know where the vaccines they are forcing on your school-aged children are produced?  Do you know what’s in those vaccines?  Do you know what kind of quality control is brought to bear on those vaccines?  The FDA doesn’t know.  But you do?

Related:  Vaccines All Contaminated with Cancerous Toxins

Do you know enough to scornfully label any vaccine skeptic an “anti-vaxxer,” as the mainstream news outlets all routinely do at the behest of their Big Pharma advertisers?  There are plenty of troubling vaccines which kill or injure people severely.  Just ask those injured by Merck’s Shingles Vaccine (Zostovax), Merck’s highly dubious Gardasil vaccine, or the usually worthless but always dangerous influenza vaccine.

Educate Yourself

Educate yourself.  Your life or the life of your child may depend on it.  It’s not enough to ignore the details, like the problems of trusting China with injecting aborted fetal cells, pig’s blood, mercury, aluminum, glyphosate, and other toxins directly into your bloodstream.  How can people who read food labels not know what’s in the vaccines pumped directly from China into their children?  How can people who read food labels have so little understanding of the secret processes and the woeful production “standards” of the catalogue of  vaccination poisons being pumped into them?

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Valsartan BPM contains Carcinogen

(Oct. 18, 2018)  The FDA announced in July 2018 that Valsartan blood pressure medicine contains a probable human carcinogen.  The agency has recalled products containing N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA).  Since that initial Valsartan recall, the FDA has continued to expand the list to include lots from more and more manufacturing facilities. The FDA recall list for Valsartan continues to expand.   You can find that list here.

Valsartan BPM contains Carcinogen

Valsartan is a commonly-prescribed high blood pressure medication that contains NDMA, a probable human carcinogen. Researchers found tumors in the bodies of mice and rats after they were exposed to NDMA.

Free Legal Consultation

Matthews & Associates is accepting cases in which a person took Valsartan and was then diagnosed with cancer of the digestive tract,  including liver, kidney, colorectal, stomach, pancreatic, and bladder cancer.  Call 713-522-5250 or email us now for a free legal consultation.

FDA Approved Drugs Kill 106,000 People Yearly

The Valsartan debacle is no exception for anyone paying attention to how the FDA works (or doesn’t) in tandem with Big Pharma drug makers.  The agency approves more and more drugs each year despite those drugs killing at least 106,000 Americans each year.

Here’s a fact which should be headline news in every TV news show and newspaper in the country:  More than 105,000 people are killed each year by FDA-approved drugs. (Another 119,000 Americans are killed yearly by errors committed in hospitals.)

These facts have been well known since at least July 26, 2000, when the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a review by Dr. Barbara Starfield titled:  “Is US health really the best in the world?”  The answer to that question, easily proven by statistics, was a most emphatic, “No!”

Let’s recap the Dr. Starfield U.S. Health System Review:

  • The US medical system kills 225,000 Americans per year.
  • 106,000 deaths per year come from FDA-approved medical drugs.
  • 119,000 deaths per year come from treatment errors in US hospitals.

Drug Industry pays FDA to Approve its Drugs

In an email interview with No More Fake News writer Jon Rappoport, Dr. Starfield wrote:  “Even though there will always be adverse events that cannot be anticipated, the fact is that more and more unsafe drugs are being approved for use.  Many people attribute that to the fact that the pharmaceutical industry is required to pay the FDA for reviews [of its new drugs], which puts the FDA into an untenable position of working for the industry it is regulating. There is a large literature on this.”

U.S. Healthcare System Broken by Vested Interests

Mr. Rappoport asked Dr. Starfield whether her work was an indictment of the FDA.

Dr. Starfield would not blame the FDA directly.  She said,  “They [the death statistics] are an indictment of the US health care industry: insurance companies, specialty and disease-oriented medical academia, the pharmaceutical and device manufacturing industries, all of which contribute heavily to re-election campaigns of members of Congress. The problem is that we do not have a government that is free of influence of vested interests. Alas, [it] is a general problem of our society — which clearly unbalances democracy.”

Dr. Starfield also noted that the figures she found were accepted by virtually all those who study them, with the lone exception of one  former medical school dean who has received lots of attention for claiming the US health system is the best there is. That lone apologist for the broken system has a vested interest in medical schools and teaching hospitals, so his outlier criticism is highly suspect.

Virtually every study similar to the one Dr. Starfield published in 2000 has found much higher numbers of deaths caused by legal drugs and deaths by medical mistakes.

We must first identify a problem before we can properly fix it.  The U.S. healthcare system is not the best in the world.  It is badly corrupted by money and the vested interests of interlocked corporations with parallel interests in profits, not people or their health.  The health system’s vice-like grip on our personal finances (forcing us into expensive and restrictive insurance policies) and its monetary control of our health choices (they’ll pay the rotten system for expensive chemo which fails 97% of those it poisons; but they won’t pay for a vitamin B-12 shot or the treatment of your choice) will continue unabated, unless we do something about it.

More than 225,000 deaths per year by legal drugs and medical mistakes is an awfully steep price to pay for a broken system of “healthcare.”

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FDA Gadolinium Warning

(Oct. 15, 2018)  The FDA issued a warning about gadolinium-based contrast agents in December 2017.  The agency’s Drug Safety Communication concerned gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs) used in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for diagnostics.  The FDA alerted health care professionals and patients about the dangers of gadolinium retention.   The FDA announced that a new class warning would be required for all GBCAs concerning gadolinium remaining in the body for months or years  following the drug’s injection for an MRI.

Related:  Gadolinium – MRI Dye Lawsuit

FDA Calls for Gado Dye Safety Tests

FDA also announced that GBCA makers must conduct human and animal studies to further assess the safety of gadolinium contrast agents. The agency is also requiring a patient medication guide be given prior to a patient’s receiving any GBCA.  The FDA says gadolinium retention has not been directly linked to adverse health effects in patients with normal kidney function, and the agency “has  concluded that the benefit of all approved GBCAs continues to outweigh any potential risks.”

All People at Risk from Gadolinium

ScienceDaily writes:  “Previously gadolinium was thought to accumulate only in patients with impaired kidney function. New evidence now shows that all patients are at risk. The authors call for urgent retrospective and prospective studies to assess the clinical effects on patients who have been exposed to gadolinium-based contrast during MRI scans.”  See:  ScienceDaily.com

Gadolinium Dangers can outweigh Benefits

Despite the FDA’s pronouncement that gadolinium benefits outweigh risks, one might be wise to consider Science Daily’s pronouncement as well as the example of the actor Chuck Norris’ wife.  The FDA warning over gadolinium and nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) states that only those with diagnosed kidney problems should avoid gadolinium-based contrast agents.  Mr. Norris’ wife had no known kidney problems when she was given GBCA before several MRIs. The couple have charged in several lawsuits against the makers of GBCAs that gadolinium caused Mrs. Norris grievous personal injuries.  And the Norris family is not alone in believing that GBCAs can cause undue harm.

Gadolinium deposition disease is real for many people who were injected with gadolinium prior to an MRI despite their having not been diagnosed with kidney problems beforehand.  Many forums can be found on the web with anecdotal reports from people who say they were injured by gadolinium dye.

Symptoms of gadolinium deposition disease — GDD — can start from within a few minutes to one month after administration of a gadolinium-based contrast agent (GBCA).

Gadolinium Deposition Disease (GDD) Symptoms:

  1. Intense burning of the skin and skin substrate may be felt overall in the entire body, though it may be localized to the trunk area or the distal extremities.
  2. Intense boring pain in bones or joints can arise early after GBCA exposure and affect any bones or joints. Joint pain may be peripheral and also affect large joints such as the knee or hip.  Any bones may feel some severe point pain, but rib pain is distinctive for GDD.
  3. Brain fog or mental confusion can also arise early after GBCA exposure.  Brain fog is also a prominent feature of lead toxicity, another heavy metal malady.
  4. Muscle vibrations (muscle fasciculations) and skin pins and needles/tingling may represent part of the same process that is causing brain fog. Muscle vibrations/twitching and pins and needles skin sensations generally reflect nerve disease or neuropathy.
  5. Head pain or headache, of variable degree, are a very common occurrence.  GDD sufferers describe it as a head pain unlike any head-ache they’ve ever experienced.  Some describe it as a burning pain or an extreme tightness  — like feeling a tight bathing cap on the head.
  6. Distal arm and leg skin/skin substrate thickening, discoloration, pain can arise in the subacute stage at 2 + weeks after GBCA exposure.  This can be similar to the principal features of NSF, but generally less severe.

GadoliniumToxicity.com says, “This symptom complex should be expected.”

Gadolinium Lawsuit

Maybe those symptoms should be expected for gadolinium deposition disease, but the makers of GBCA owe a duty to people to warn them of the real dangers of gadolinium contrast dye.  Our law firm is handling gadolinium lawsuits for people adversely affected by gadolinium dye.  Contact us for a free legal consultation if you or a loved one was injured as a result of being injected with gadolinium prior to an MRI.  You may be entitled to significant compensation for any gadolinium-related injuries.

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Zostavax Shingles Suits set in Philadelphia

(Oct.16, 2018) – Several Zostavax shingles vaccine lawsuits filed against vaccine giant Merck are set up to be tried in the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation.  This past summer, a judiciary panel granted Merck & Co.’s request to centralize dozens of shingles vaccine suits which allege Merck’s Zostavax vaccine caused people injuries.  The Eastern District of Pennsylvania was chosen as the setting after a court found that the suits involve common questions of fact.

Merck Wishes Granted by Judges
A six-judge panel granted Merck & Co. Inc. and Merck Sharpe & Dohme Corp.’s petition to centralize 57 suits currently filed in nine different districts.  The Merck petition was also supported by McKesson Corp., a co-defendant in 30 suits.

The judges held that the suits hinge on common factual questions which arise from allegations that Merck’s shingles vaccine caused plaintiffs to develop shingles or other injuries caused by live virus contained in Merck’s vaccine.  Plaintiffs charge that Merck failed to sufficiently warn of the shingle’s vaccine’s substantial risks.

Live Shingles Vaccine Virus

The judiciary panel wrote:   “Issues concerning the design, testing, manufacture, regulatory approval, labeling, and marketing of Zostavax are common to all actions.  In this litigation, all plaintiffs allege they were injured by the same product in the same manner — exposure to the live attenuated virus in Zostavax — indicating common factual issues will arise concerning the potential risks associated with the use of the live virus in the vaccine.”

The judges noted that plaintiffs in 15 of the actions supported centralization, but they disagreed on where to send the new MDL.  Plaintiffs in 30 of the actions opposed centralization, but said that if the panel insisted on it, they wanted the MDL sent to the Middle District of Florida or the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

The panel nevertheless backed Merck’s first choice for the new MDL, sending it to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.  The panel said the suits there were furthest along, and also noted Merck’s facilities were in Pennsylvania and also at its nearby New Jersey headquarters.

Seven Actions
The panel wrote that, “Seven actions are pending in this district, and they are the earliest filed and most advanced actions in this litigation.”  They further backed their choice by saying that many common documents and witnesses would likely be located in the same area.

The panel also noted its awareness of 41 more federal suits related to the litigation since Merck filed its motion.

The panel transferred the new MDL to Philadelphia-based U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III, who was nominated for his lifetime position by George Bush I.  The six said he is an experienced transferee judge familiar with the claims and issues in the Zostavax cases.  Judge Bartle is already presiding over the related cases in that district.

The defendants already have some helpful rulings from the Republican nominee Bartle, who stripped fraud claims from 10 Zostavax suits in May 2018.  The judge ruled that the plaintiffs failed to back up allegations that Merck made false representations to doctors and others to hide the shingle’s vaccine’s design flaws.

Zostovax a stronger Chickenpox vaccine
Merck’s Zostavax is a stronger  version of Varivax, the company’s chickenpox vaccine.  Zostavax was one of the flagship results from Merck’s European joint vaccine venture with Sanofi SA.  The two companies disbanded in 2016.

Brain swelling, eye disorders
Plaintiffs from across the U.S. have filed lawsuits alleging Merck failed to warn them that its shingles vaccine could cause brain swelling, eye disorders, and serious other problems.  Plaintiffs’ petitions also question the efficacy of Zostavax, arguing that some groups of people who take the shot are more likely to develop shingles than if they had not taken the shot at all.

At least 12 Zostavax actions involving more than 300 plaintiffs have been filed in California state court.  Those cases have been consolidated for pretrial proceedings, along with 50 Zostavax actions concerning more than 800 plaintiffs in New Jersey state court.  According to the JPML order, two petitions for coordination of the New Jersey actions are pending.

Plaintiffs in the suits being consolidated are represented by Bern & Partners LLP, and other law firms.

Zostavax Shingles Suits set in Philadelphia

The case is IN RE: Zostavax (Zoster Vaccine Live) Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2848 before the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation.

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Cardinal quits amid Catholic Church Sex Abuse Scandal

(Oct. 12, 2018)  Cardinal Donald Wuerl quit today amid the ongoing Catholic church sex abuse scandal.  Pope Francis accepted the Archbishop of Washington’s resignation.  Mr. Wuerl is the latest casualty in the ongoing fallout from the shocking Pennsylvania grand jury investigation which concluded in August.  After working for two years interviewing dozens of priest abuse victims and reading thousands of pages of internal church documents, the grand jury found that more than 300 priests had sexually molested more than 1,000 children — and likely abused thousands more — in the last six decades.

Cardinal Wuerl Apologizes

“Once again for any past errors in judgment, I apologize and ask for pardon,” said Mr. Wuerl.  “My resignation is one way to express my great and abiding love for you the people of the church of Washington.”

Related:  Pennsylvania Priest Abuse Lawsuit

The Church Cover-up

The extent of the priest sex abuse in itself is demonstrably provable and acknowledged by church officials in the church’s own documents.  But what is equally troubling and even more shocking is the extent of the church’s top-down cover-up of priest sex crimes against children.

Like Pope Francis and other top church officials, Mr. Wuerl has been accused of covering up sexual abuse to protect clergy members.   He stands accused of reassigning accused priests to new posts without punishing them.  He effectively let abusive priests off the hook for their alleged abuse, and worse.  He reassigned them to unwitting parishes where they could abuse children again.

Mr. Wuerl, 77, was at the center of the Pennsylvania grand jury findings that priests had sexually abused more than 300 children over a 70 year period.  As the bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006, Mr. Wuerl oversaw the height of the sexual abuse.  He was then appointed to the archdiocese of Washington.  There, he denied knowing that the man he replaced – now a disgraced Cardinal and former Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, whom the pope also protected — was suspected of child sex abuse.

Pope-a-Dope

Mr. Wuerl praised Pope Francis as he departed.  “I am profoundly grateful for [Francis’]  devoted commitment to the well-being of the archdiocese of Washington and also deeply touched by his gracious words of understanding.”

Men of God?

Are we all taking crazy pills?  Both these “Men of God” appear to be riding a lunatic merry-go-round of shared adulation on which neither can claim credibility or honor. Their robes are scorched with the burning tears of abused children who were taught to trust their elders, and to trust their priests most of all.  The innocence of thousands of abused children lies broken and bleeding at the coddled feet of these men of God.

Pope Francis Engineers Ongoing Coverup

Instead of encouraging the soul-cleansing mea culpa which the Catholic church teaches all of its penitents is the one true path to heaven, the pope has called for a very different M.O. for accused priests.  Pope Francis has told his clergymen to remain silent “like Jesus on Good Friday,” when they stand accused of sex abuse crimes.

That histrionic nod to martyrdom may represent sound legal advice for a man running a corporation cowering under the potential weight of its legal liability in child sex abuse lawsuits.  It is hardly the message to send true Christians or free thinkers who already suspect that the church’s hierarchical structure has led to this terrible crisis in the first place.  The pope’s message for accused priests to remain silent instead of confessing their sins perverts the most salient teachings of the church itself.

What need of Catholic priests at all if not to hear confessions and help people pay penance and cleanse their souls?  But for priests we get a double standard?  Is their God different from ours?  Does he, or she, as you will, offer a separate set of rules for those perched closer to the top of the church’s artificial hierarchy?  It won’t wash.  The pope is all wet.

The Catholic church is in trouble. The Pennsylvania grand jury report makes it impossible for many Catholics to ever look at their church in the same way again, to see it as a place of justice, where Christ’s light shines through the daily darkness of the temporal world, and love and truth reign supreme.  Unless the truth be told, the light cannot shine through the darkness.  Light and Truth must be synonyms for any viable church.

States investigate Catholic Church for Sex Abuse Crimes

In more bad news for the Catholic church, thirteen state’s attorneys general have requested all documents from their Catholic dioceses pertaining to sexual abuse and cover-ups within the Catholic church in their states.

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Diabetes Drugs raise Cancer Risk

Popular diabetes Invokana Lawsuitdrugs Invokana, Farxiga, and Jardiance can raise kidney and bladder cancer risk.

First introduced in 2013, these SGL2 inhibitors are supposed to work by reducing a certain protein and forcing the kidneys to flush glucose out of the body instead of absorbing it.  The problem is that altering the body’s natural processes can cause other problems.

Amputations, Ketoacidosis, other “Side Effects”

Invokana and the other SGL2s can also raise the risk of amputations.  They can also raise the diabetic’s risk of ketoacidosis, and worse.

Fournier’s Gangrene or Necrotizing Fasciitis

These diabetes drugs – Invokana, Farxiga, and Jardiance — have also been linked to causing Fournier’s gangrene of the genitals, or necrotizing fasciitis.  The FDA reported in September 2018 that it had received reports of at least 11 people who suffered Fournier’s gangrene of the genitals from Invokana and other SGL2 drugs. All of the people required painful surgery; one of them died from the condition.

$2.5 Billion in Annual Sales

Though SGL2 inhibitors have proven dangerous or deadly for many people, these drugs account for more than $2.5 billion annually in Big Pharma profits.  Invokana alone brought its maker, Johnson & Johnson, $1 billion in sales in 2018.

Diabetes Drugs linked to Kidney or Bladder Cancer

Several studies have linked Invokana, Farxiga and Jardiance to kidney and bladder cancer:

  • December 2017: An EMPA-REG clinical trial showed that patients taking Jardiance may have twice the risk of bladder cancer.
  • October 2017: A joint U.S / Chinese study found a higher risk for bladder cancer with SGLT2 inhibitors.
  • June 2015:  A University of Colorado study showed that patients taking Farxiga had nearly a six-fold increased risk of suffering bladder cancer.
  • February 2015:  A study by Endocrinology Network predicted  higher risk of UTIs from SGLT2 Inhibitors; UTIs can increase risk of bladder cancer.
  • November 2014:  Invokana was linked to kidney cancer in animal studies.
  • August 2014:  A University of Taiwan study found Jardiance patients showed a five (5) times greater risk of bladder cancer.  Animals given Invokana suffered higher rates of kidney cancer.

Compensation for those Diagnosed with Kidney, Bladder Cancer

Patients who have been diagnosed with bladder or kidney cancer after taking Invokana, Jardiance or Farxiga may be entitled to compensation for medical costs, pain, suffering, and other losses.

The manufacturers of these medications may be liable for damages if the makers can be shown to have known about the drugs’ dangers but failed to properly warn doctors and patients.

Cancer risks from SGLT2 diabetes drugs first appeared before 2012 in early clinical trials.  The FDA granted approval for these drugs only on the condition that their makers would conduct more safety testing in the form of post-marketing studies.  Notably, none of these drugs’ makers have added warnings about cancer in the years since, despite several studies suggesting a raised risk.

Kidney and Bladder Cancer

The good news about kidney and bladder cancer is that these types of cancer usually have high rates of treatment success.

Bladder cancer is the 6th most commonly diagnosed type of cancer among Americans.  It usually affects males 65-85.  The three types of bladder cancer are 1.) transitional cell carcinoma, 2.) squamous cell carcinoma, 3.) adenocarcinom.

Bladder Cancer Symptoms include blood in the urine, pain in the side or back, pain during urination, and frequent urination.

Treatment of bladder cancer may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, or immunotherapy.  The survival rate with these treatments can be as high as 77%.

Kidney cancer is the 7th most common form of cancer in the U.S.  It can affect men and women of any age. The two most common kidney cancer types are renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and transitional cell carcinoma (TCC).

Common symptoms of kidney cancer include blood in the urine, a mass in the abdomen, persistent sweating, abdomen pain, weight loss.

The most common treatment for kidney cancer is surgical removal of the affected kidney or part of it.  The survival rate for kidney cancer is around 73%, though it can be as high as 92%.

Free Legal Consultation

If you or a loved one developed bladder or kidney cancer after taking an SGL2 inhibitor drug – such as Invokana, Jardiance, or Farxiga – contact us for a free legal consultation regarding a potential lawsuit against that drug’s maker.  We work on a contingency fee basis; we don’t get paid unless we achieve financial compensation for our clients.  We look forward to speaking with you.

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Last Day to Register to Vote in many states

(Oct. 9, 2018)  Election Day is Nov. 6, but the voter registration deadline is today for many states. Today is the last day to register to vote in Texas, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Michigan and many other places.

The New York Times has provided a list of each state’s voter registration deadline. Deadlines have already passed in Alaska and Rhode Island, and some registration options have already passed in some states, but others are still open.

The mail deadlines are when the applications should be postmarked, unless stated otherwise. Some states allow their citizens to register through Election Day, but they may have special requirements to make it more difficult.

For those already registered, here is a list of states which allow early voting.  And below is a list of state deadlines with links compiled by the New York Times.

State Registration Deadlines – from the New York Times

Tap on a state’s name for more detailed information.

  • Alabama: The deadline to register in person, online or by mail is Oct. 22.
  • Arizona: The deadline to register in person, online or by mail is Oct. 9.
  • Arkansas: The deadline to register in person or by mail is Oct. 9. Online registration is not available.
  • California: The deadline to register in person, online or by mail is Oct. 22. Residents who miss the deadline can still register at an election office and vote with a provisional ballot. The vote will be counted when the registration is verified.
  • Colorado: The deadline to register by mail or online is Oct. 29. Residents can register in person by Election Day.
  • Connecticut: The deadline to register in person, by mail or online is Oct. 30. Residents can still register to vote through Election Day at a local election office.
  • Delaware: The deadline to register in person, online or by mail is Oct. 13.
  • District of Columbia: The deadline to register in person is Election Day. The deadline to register by mail or online is Oct. 16.
  • Florida: The deadline to register in person, by mail or online is Oct. 9.
  • Georgia: The deadline to register in person, by mail or online is Oct. 9.
  • Hawaii: The deadline to register in person, by mail or online is Oct. 9. Residents who miss the deadline can still register to vote and cast a ballot during early voting or on Election Day.
  • Idaho: Residents can register in person up to Election Day. The deadline to register by mail or online is Oct. 12.
  • Illinois: The deadline to register in person is Oct. 9. The deadline to register online is Oct. 21. After that, residents can register and vote at a local election office during a “grace period.”
  • Indiana: The deadline to register in person, by mail or online is Oct. 9.
  • Iowa: The deadline to register online is Oct. 27, and by mail is Oct. 22. Residents can register and vote in person on Election Day.
  • Kansas: The deadline to register in person, online or by mail is Oct. 16.
  • Kentucky: The deadline to register in person, online or by mail is Oct. 9.
  • Louisiana: The deadline to register in person or by mail is Oct. 9. Residents can register online until Oct. 16.
  • Maine: The deadline to register by mail is Oct. 16. Residents can register to vote in person until Election Day. Maine does not have online registration.
  • Maryland: The deadline to register in person is Oct. 16 or during early voting with a state-issued ID. The deadline to register by mail or online is Oct. 16.
  • Massachusetts: The deadline to register in person or online is Oct. 17. The deadline to register by mail is Oct. 16.
  • Michigan: The deadline to register in person or by mail is Oct. 9. Online voter registration is not available.
  • Minnesota: The deadline to register online or by mail is Oct. 16. Residents can register in person until Election Day.
  • Mississippi: The deadline to register in person was Oct. 8. If registering by mail, the deadline is Oct. 9. There is no online voting registration.
  • Missouri: The deadline to register by mail, in person or online is Oct. 10.
  • Montana: The deadline to register in person was Oct. 7. To register by mail, the form must be received by Oct. 10. After that, late registration is available through Election Day at county election offices. Online registration is not available.
  • Nebraska: The deadline to register by mail or online is Oct. 19. Residents can register in person up to Oct. 26.
  • Nevada: The deadline to register by mail is Oct. 9, and Oct. 16 in person. Residents can register online by Oct. 18.
  • New Hampshire: The deadline to register in person is on Election Day. Residents cannot register online.
  • New Jersey: The deadline to register in person or by mail is Oct. 16. There is no online registration.
  • New Mexico: The deadline to register in person, by mail or online is Oct. 9.
  • New York: The deadline to register in person or online is Oct. 12. To register by mail, the form must be received by Oct. 17.
  • North Carolina: The deadline to register in person or by mail is Oct. 12. (Extended to Oct. 15 for 28 counties that were affected by Hurricane Florence.) From Oct. 17 to Nov. 3, residents can register and vote simultaneously at “one-stop” early voting sites. Residents cannot register online.
  • North Dakota: Voters are not required to register before Election Day, but must bring acceptable proof of ID and residency to the polls.
  • Ohio: The deadline to register in person, by mail or online is Oct. 9.
  • Oklahoma: The deadline to register in person or by mail is Oct. 12. Online registration is not available.
  • Oregon: The deadline to register in person, by mail or online is Oct. 16. Many of the state’s residents are automatically registered when they renew their driver’s licenses.
  • Pennsylvania: The deadline to register in person, online or by mail is Oct. 9.
  • South Carolina: The deadline to register in person, by mail or online is Oct. 17. (The deadline was extended 10 days from Oct. 7 because of Hurricane Florence.)
  • South Dakota: The deadline to register in person is Oct. 22. To register by mail, the form must be received by Oct. 22. Online registration is not available.
  • Tennessee: The deadline to register in person, by mail or online is Oct. 9.
  • Texas: The deadline to register in person or by mail is Oct. 9.
  • Utah: The deadline to register by mail is Oct. 9. The deadline to register in person or online is Oct. 30.
  • Vermont: Voters can register online or in person through Election Day.
  • Virginia: The deadline to register in person, online or by mail is Oct. 15.
  • Washington: The deadline to register online or by mail was Oct. 8. Residents can register in person by Oct. 29.
  • West Virginia: The deadline to register in person, online or by mail is Oct. 16.
  • Wisconsin: The deadline to register online or by mail is Oct. 17. Residents can register in person up until Election Day.
  • Wyoming: The deadline to register in person is on Election Day. To register by mail, the form must be received by Oct. 22. Online registration is not available.

 

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Monsanto loses bid to Collect Personal Information

Monsanto fails to curtail free speech
(Oct. 6, 2018)  Monsanto might have its minions working to consolidate its dream of an agricultural business monopoly — in the EPA, the U.S. Senate, the Supreme Court of the United States, to name just a few places — but despite the heavy stacking of the deck in its favor, the biotech bully from Missouri can still be beaten. Monsanto can be beaten not only in the court of U.S. public opinion, but also in the court of law.  In September 2018, activists (sentient humans, by any other name) working to stop the Monsanto juggernaut and uncover its crimes were backed in court by a significant judicial ruling.

Monsanto had sued the citizens’ group Avaaz to force it to hand over the names of millions of people who had acted against Monsanto by signing petitions or sending money to fight it. These activists were trying to stop Monsanto from destroying our land and food with glyphosate and other patented poisons. Monsanto lost that bid to collect the activists’ personal information, thanks to a judge who recognized the dangers of allowing deep-pocketed corporations to harass and bully human beings in the U.S. court system.

Judge Hagler delivers Justice

On September 6, 2018, a Manhattan judge threw out a subpoena filed by Monsanto against Avaaz. The judge then lectured Monsanto on the importance of free speech and democracy.

The 168-page subpoena – authored by Monsanto through a New York court — would have forced  Avaaz to hand over a decade’s worth of internal campaign communications.  That list would have included the personal information of millions who signed petitions protesting Monsanto’s genetically modified crops and the company’s carcinogenic Roundup. (Wouldn’t Monsanto have loved to “roundup” those activists, if only to frighten them into submission, or name them on its next lawsuit in the kind of legal harassment which has helped the company become so deservedly infamous.)

Avaaz campaign director Iain Keith emailed members after the judge denied Monsanto’s gestapo-like quest to roundup the names and personal information of activists:  “This subpoena was terrifying and would have had Avaaz spend months and hundreds of thousands of dollars digging up and handing over to Monsanto everything anyone on our team ever said or wrote about them for YEARS. Including even the email addresses and identities of our members who had sent messages to officials about Monsanto!”

Mr. Keith said in a Facebook video:
“Monsanto was so angry about the millions of activists who fought to convince the European Union and other governments to step up and protect citizens from glyphosate that it took us to court and wanted us to hand over all of our strategies and partnerships.”

Sentient beings can only thank God the case didn’t go Monsanto’s way, and they can thank the fair judge who ruled against the biotech bully from Missouri.

Judge Shlomo S. Hagler of the Manhattan Supreme Court Justice “absolutely destroyed” Monsanto’s subpoena, said Mr. Avaaz.  Judge Hagler said, “the subpoena would have a ‘tremendous chilling effect’” and that “no member would want to have their privacy and their activity known.”

Judge Rules for Free Speech over Monsanto
We beat #Monsanto in court! The judge even said that Monsanto was trying to stop the lobbying efforts of our members. In his words, “This is America…you can speak your mind.”
— Avaaz (@Avaaz) September 6, 2018

Other Recent Wins over Monsanto:

•  The New York state attorney general charged Monsanto with fraud in 1996 and then beat the bully in court.  New York sued Monsanto over its Roundup marketing claims. The state specifically objected to Monsanto’s wild claim that Roundup was as safe as table salt. Monsanto also claimed Roundup had more than a 1,000 fold safety margin over food (whatever that even meant). Another Monsanto ad claimed, “Roundup can be used where kids and pets will play.” Monsanto never admitted any wrongdoing (poisoning the world for profit means never having to say you’re sorry), but the company nonetheless agreed to stop making such unproven claims about its glyphosate products in New York state. (Meanwhile the rest of the country is still treated to Monsanto’s misinformation over glyphosate safety.)

•  In August of this year, Monsanto was ordered to pay a dying California man $289 million for failing to warn him that using Roundup could give him non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

•  In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer announced that glyphosate – the only listed active ingredient in Roundup – was a probable human carcinogen.

World Celebrate Victory over Monsanto

The ruling for Avaaz sparked celebrations around the world. Users took to social media to voice their support for Avaaz, as well as for the judge who delivered justice.

BREAKING: Judge Hagler quash subpoena from Monsanto against Avaaz. Democracy won. Freedom of speech rules the day! #FirstAmendment
— Oscar Soria (@OscarHSoria) September 6, 2018
I love when common sense, #truth, #justice, #wisdom, #freedom, and #integrity stand tall!

Thank you @Avaaz for your courage to speak for freedom in court in response to #Monsanto subpoena. Huge gratitude to the judge who is beyond bullying, who sees simple Truth! https://t.co/FdvXFWacSZ
— Jeanine DuBois (@jrd1776) September 7, 2018

NY Supreme Court just quashed Monsanto’s subpoena against @Avaaz. I hear the judge delivered a spanking to Monsanto’s lawyers. This wouldn’t have been possible without the thousands of Avaazers who donated towards the legal defence — very grateful to them! pic.twitter.com/8HVK0PKSQ6
— Fatima-Zahra Ibrahim (@fortuashla) September 6, 2018

Avaaz Deputy Director, Emma Ruby-Sachs, said in a press release:
“It’s unbelievable, but we beat back Monsanto and won in court! Not only are we safe from this legal attack, but the judge even told Monsanto that what they were doing was anti-democratic and an attempt to ‘chill’ the voices of our members, and the voices of citizens engaged in lobbying everywhere. Monsanto can appeal, but they’d be crazy to try to take on this amazing community of almost 50 million people again.”

Monsanto acted with Malice, Oppression, Fraud
In the $289 million verdict against Monsanto last molnth, a jury of 12 determined that exposure to Monsanto’s Roundup caused cancer in 46-year-old Dewayne Johnson, a former school groundskeeper who became terminally ill with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after he sprayed Roundup on schoolgrounds. The jury agreed with Mr. Johnson’s lawyers, who charged that Monsanto acted with “malice, oppression or fraud.”

Monsanto said it will appeal the verdict in Mr. Johnson’s case, and it will likely also appeal Judge Hagler’s ruling in the Avaaz case.  The ruling nevertheless sparked a wave of malaise among Bayer investors, pushing the stock price to its lowest in five years, and the ruling gives the rest of us hope that the Monsanto juggernaut can be stopped before it poisons the entire world even more than it already has.

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How Diabetes Drugs cause Dangerous Genital Infections

The US FDA announced on August 29, 2018 that certain diabetes drugs can cause dangerous genital infections.  The agency warned that people suffering from type 2 diabetes can be injured by a terrible “side effect.”  These popular drugs – Invokana, Invokamet, Farxiga and Jardiance — can increase the risk of a flesh-eating bacteria infecting the genitals.

The FDA issued a warning about sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors, drugs  commonly prescribed for treating type 2 diabetes.  These drugs were linked, over a five-year period, to a dozen rare cases of genital infection known as Fournier’s gangrene or necrotizing fasciitis. This potentially lethal malady causes the skin to die.  All 12 patients who developed it required hospitalization, according to the FDA.  One person died.

SGLT2 Inhibitors linked to Flesh-eating Bacteria

The SGLT2 inhibitors have been linked to cases of a flesh-eating bacterial infection that attacks the perineum, the skin between the anus and the vulva or the anus and the scrotum.  An infection of the perineum affecting this part of the body is called Fournier’s gangrene.  It is a rare but potentially fatal condition.

Fournier’s gangrene is more common in men than women.  It can spread to other parts of the body, according to medical experts.  It can also rapidly progress to involve the entire genital area, and even infect the abdominal wall.

The 12 cases of this infection that the FDA saw spurned the agency into requiring that all  SGLT2 inhibitors now include a warning about this risk in the prescribing information. The medications in this class include canagliflozin (Invokana & Invokamet), dapagliflozin (Farxiga), empagliflozin (jardiance) and ertugliflozin (Steglatro). The drugs are available as single-ingredient medications or in combinations, such as with metformin.

How do these infections occur?

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body can’t remove sugar from the bloodstream.  In a diabetic, the cells fail to respond to insulin, the hormone that helps move sugar into the cells.  SGLT2 inhibitors can help lower blood sugar by causing the kidneys to remove sugar from the body through urine. This process can stabilize blood sugar levels.

Unfortunately, this process can also lead to infections, because anywhere there is higher blood sugar, there’s an increased risk of bacterial infection.  Bacteria is all over us, and a sugary environment is a great breeding ground for bacteria. When one eliminates more sugar through urine, a greater concentration of bacteria reaches into the genital area.  This area then becomes an   inviting environment for bacteria.

Bacteria can become a problem only when there is an entry point to infect, such as a small cut from shaving or a skin ulcer near the genitals.  When that happens, the infections can become serious and require many surgeries to remove all of the infected tissues, which is exactly what happened to the 12 people in the FDA report which led to the newly required warnings.

How Diabetes Drugs cause Dangerous Genital Infections

The FDA warning includes instructions for any patients taking these drugs to seek immediate medical attention if they experience any signs of swelling, itching or irritation in the genital area, or if they experience a fever above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius).  The bacteria that can cause necrotizing fasciitis can spread quickly, so it’s vital to seek immediate treatment at any sign of infection and a general feeling of ill being.

Type 2 Diabetes Treatment Options Exist

SGLT2 inhibitors are not the only game in town for those who suffer from Type 2 diabetes. Good hygiene can help minimize the risk of necrotizing fasciitis, and Type 2 diabetes can be controlled in ways which don’t involve taking SGLT2 inhibitors.

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