Cell Phone caused Brain Tumor, says Italian Court

(May 29, 2019) Cell Phone Radiation Lawsuit Cell phone use caused a man’s brain tumor, said an Italian court in April 2017. The judge in the case ruled that a longtime Telecom Italia employee developed a brain tumor as a result of heavy cell phone use.  He ordered that Roberto Romero be awarded 6,000 to 7,000 euros per year, the US equivalent of $6,000 to $7,500.

Mr. Romero’s lawyer, Stefano Bertone, said one factor in the court’s decision was its refusal to accept into evidence studies which were funded by the telecom industry.

Mr. Romero used the company cell phone for three hours a day for 15 years without taking any precautions. He developed an ipsilateral tumor (on the side of the head glued to the phone) and lost his hearing in that ear. Though the tumor was non-cancerous, it required surgical removal.

The Telecom Italia employee sued the state social security agency rather than the company for which he still works. He believes cell phone users should adopt some safety measures. His lawyer, Mr. Bertone, said those measures could include reducing cell use and using anti-radiation ear buds.  (Editor’s note: Regular earbuds may not be protective. Defender Shield sells radiation-reducing ear buds.)

2012 Ruling helped 2017 Case

Mr. Bertone said he believed that a 2012 decision by Italy’s highest court helped pave the way for Mr. Romero’s ruling. The 2012 case saw Italian’s highest court award social security payments to a salesman who used his cell phone five or six hours a day before developing a brain tumor.  The trial court that first heard the salesman’s claim denied it, but Italy’s highest court then took it up and ruled that there was a link between the man’s heavy cell phone use and his tumor.

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Roundup Cocktail threatens Monsanto

The Roundup cocktail that has killed living things for decades now threatens its Monsanto creator.  One is reminded of Macbeth’s pausing to consider the fallout before he murders Duncan: “That we but teach bloody instructions which, being taught, return to plague the inventor.”  Monsanto has taught a lot of bloody instructions through the years, all over the world. And now the company that kills for a living may fast be approaching its day of reckoning, despite whatever its well-paid lawyers and executives endlessly repeat about jury appeals as the company loses each new trial in spectacular fashion.

Or consider a Frankenstein metaphor – Monsanto as mad scientist creating an ugly monster that destroys its creator. All metaphors break down on close inspection, but this one might not be hyperbole, given the enormous verdicts against Monsanto that Roundup has wrought so far.  What seemed unthinkable just six months or a year ago is now eminently thinkable: The toxic Roundup cocktail may yet destroy its creator. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Bayer is worth less now than the $63 billion it paid for Monsanto about a year ago.

The WSJ wrote on Monday, May 20, 2019:

“Bayer’s market capitalization has shrunk by more than 40% to roughly $59.13 billion. Worried that liabilities from the weedkiller are going to rise, investors have abandoned the stock, sending the shares into a downward spiral.”

Monsanto loses a third Roundup Trial, now 0-3 against Roundup Users

The latest Roundup trial – which brought a staggering $2 Billion verdict against Monsanto – has revealed to the world the glaring EPA loophole which allowed Monsanto to unleash Roundup on the world. It is a loophole that was clearly designed by chemical industry executives working through  back doors with “our” government regulators.  It was clearly not designed by regulators working first and foremost with the health of the public, the birds, bees, animals, and the land in mind. This glaring loophole has helped corporations escape liability in most environmental or product liability cases for many decades.

The Glyphosate Loophole

The regulatory loophole is so large and glaring that it is difficult to imagine it being allowed by any sane agency, government, or people. This loophole allows a company to list and test for safety only whatever that company decides to call an “active ingredient.” Roundup, as well as virtually any pesticide or poison you can think of (including the fluorosilicic acid dumped into most of the nation’s drinking water), has a twisted and tortured regulatory history.  In the case of Roundup, Monsanto was allowed to tell the EPA that glyphosate is its only active ingredient, and that the others were virtually irrelevant. The company had gotten away with that ruse – using a see-no-evil, speak-no-evil, hear-no-evil EPA – since the 1970s. All that has finally changed with the Roundup trials. The world is apparently waking up as juries are finally being allowed to hear the truth. The EPA classifies an ingredient as “inert” if it does not do the actual weed-killing, but that classification doesn’t mean the ingredient is not relevant, or doesn’t make the entire cocktail more toxic.

Inert Ingredients Matter

The obvious truth is that ALL the ingredients in a given toxic cocktail matter. The truth is that a company’s calling an ingredient “inert” doesn’t necessarily make it so. That’s what three juries have discovered as Monsanto has lost all three trials over Roundup so far – for $289 million, $80 million, and $2 billion. Monsanto has lost those trials principally because all three juries have been able to hear evidence of how the entire toxic cocktail called Roundup is at least 50x more toxic than glyphosate alone. (Who’d have thunk it? Not the US EPA, which still backs Monsanto.)  As the Pilliods’ lawyer put it before the jury which reached the $2.06 billion verdict, Roundup isn’t just glyphosate. It includes other “highly more toxic” components that “have a synergistic effect with glyphosate.”

University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias noted: “The trial judge let in a lot more in the third trial than [was let in] in the first two.  (It) seems like they heard more, and more of it was bad.”

Roundup Ingredient banned in Europe

Mr. Tobias noted that Alameda Superior Court Judge Winifred could again allow plaintiffs to reveal to the jury that a surfactant in the toxic Roundup cocktail, polyoxyethylene tallow amine, known as POEA, is banned in Europe.  POEA helps the Roundup liquid spread across leaves’ waxy surfaces and coat them instead of beading up. The Pilliod case jury was the first to learn of the European ban.  Just as it coats living plants, Roundup coats the human skin in similar fashion, then leeches into the bones and the lymph, where it triggers non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Just as the plants are unable to uptake vitamins and minerals to keep them alive after Roundup surfactants attach and attack, eating Roundup-contaminated GMO food attacks the human gut and damages its ability to uptake needed nutrients.

(Many obese and even morbidly obese people are sadly living nutrient-deprived lives as a result.  No matter how much they eat, they are sadly always hungry because their bodies are unable to uptake vital nutrients.)

Monsanto Rebuttal

Monanto’s lawyers’ rebuttal at trial was to claim that dozens of studies were done on surfactants and that they were all found safe. What entities performed those studies, what company paid for them, and how they were designed were all questions that came up in court and were tackled by the plaintiff’s side. Again and again plaintiffs showed in all three trials that Monsanto paid for virtually all of the studies which suggest Roundup might be safe to use. Monsanto lawyers, meanwhile, repeated over and over that hundreds of studies have shown glyophosate is safe, though virtually all of those studies were done by Monsanto or were paid for my Monsanto, or were done by scientists or researchers with vested interests in Monsanto.

The Pilliods’ lead attorney Brent Wisner told the jury that Monsanto knew for a long time that combining glyphosate with the surfactant is more genotoxic and has a “synergistic effect.” He said Monsanto knew as much as early as 2000, that the company had heard it from a consultant whose findings Monsanto then dismissed for not helping support the company.

Internal Monsanto emails showed Monsanto religiously avoided switching to a known safer surfactant in the U.S. for fear that the change would look like an acknowledgement that Roundup  was dangerous.  Switching would have alerted the world, leading to Roundup bans everywhere, and it might have led to the exact types of lawsuits the company now finds itself fighting.

Monsanto claimed the change in Roundup’s European formula was for “market tastes.”  The jury clearly didn’t buy it.

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Ohio State Doctor sexually abused male student athletes

(May 20, 2019) An Ohio State University doctor sexually abused more than 177 male student athletes in a 20-year reign of perversion which OSU stands accused of being aware of and failing to stop. Suicided sex abuser Richard Strauss worked as a doctor at Ohio State University for twenty years. Today, OSU is being sued by more than 50 former student athletes for the dead man’s alleged sex crimes.

20+ Years of Sex Abuse

For nearly two decades at Ohio State, Strauss sexually abused at least 177 male students, according to an exhaustive independent investigation commissioned by the university. Most of the sex abuse occurred under the guise of providing students medical treatment.

“Doctor” Strauss worked at OSU from September 1978 through March 1998, primarily with the Athletic Department and the Student Health Center. The investigation found that university personnel became aware of Strauss’ abuse as early as 1979.

However, the report reads, “[D]espite the persistence, seriousness, and regularity of such complaints, no meaningful action was taken by the University to investigate such concerns until January 1996,” when they were first elevated to officials beyond Student Health or the Athletics Department.

Strauss was finally suspended from working as a treating physician at OSU in 1996. The university finally removed from its departments, but to its crying shame still kept him on as a tenured faculty member.  The doctor voluntarily retired in 1998 with “emeritus” status from the university, and finally killed himself in 2005.

OSU President’s Apology

In a message emailed to the OSU community this year, university President Michael Drake wrote: “The findings are shocking and painful to comprehend.”

Mr. Drake, who became OSU’s president in 2014, added:  “On behalf of the university, we offer our profound regret and sincere apologies to each person who endured Strauss’ abuse. Our institution’s fundamental failure at the time to prevent this abuse was unacceptable, as were the inadequate efforts to thoroughly investigate complaints raised by students and staff members.”

Drake said OSU would “take additional action as appropriate,” and that the school has begun the process of revoking Strauss’ emeritus status.

A Strauss Survivor Speaks

A survivor of Struss’ abuse, Kent Kilgore, said in a statement to the AP: “Dreams were broken, relationships with loved ones were damaged, and the harm now carries over to our children as many of us have become so overprotective that it strains the relationship with our kids.”

OSU said it launched the independent investigation in April 2019 after a former student came forward with allegations of abuse and “indicated … there may have been others who experienced sexual misconduct by Strauss.”

The investigation carried out by the law firm Perkins Coie was led by a former federal prosecutor and a former federal government ethics attorney. Both had experience in investigations involving male sexual abuse survivors.

The law firm interviewed 520 people, among them the 177 men who said they had been abused by Strauss.

The report of 230+ pages contains a long list of former students telling painful stories of Strauss abusing them as they saw him for medical care. In many cases, as with members of the wrestling team, they had only Strauss to see, as he typically managed to have himself assigned as the sole medical shepherd for all-male teams.

At least 50 former OSU athletes have filed lawsuits against the university for allowing Strauss to prey for 20 years on young athletes, long after the first disturbing reports of his perversions began to surface. Given the sheer numbers of abuse reports and the rumors which swirled around Struss for years, it appears that OSU knew or should have known it had a serial sex predator on its hands, yet the university failed to protect the students in its charge.

Instances of Abuse

The report says Strauss’ abuse often involved “routinely touch (a student’s) genitals at every visit, regardless of the medical ailment presented, including for a sore throat.”

The report states that members of 15 university athletic teams were abused. Strauss’ most frequent target was wrestlers – 48 of them – according to the report, with the abuse often escalating over multiple visits.

Other student athletes said Strauss would frequently shower with teams. He appeared to loiter and stare at naked students in locker rooms, making many uncomfortable.

A former soccer player told investigators Strauss would sometimes run a single lap just as the team was finishing up practice. The report says, “The student noted that it was a commonly-held perception among the players that Strauss was exercising as a pretext to shower with the team, and the student-athletes would try to shower as quickly as possible.”

Dozens of OSU staff coaches or trainers told investigators they had been aware of rumors and complaints against Strauss. The abuse was so well known that some students thought it was simply accepted by other OSU staff.

OSU Doctor’s Perversions an Open Secret

The report states: “Many of the students felt that Strauss’ behavior was an ‘open secret,’ as it appeared to them that their coaches, trainers, and other team physicians were fully aware of Strauss’ activities, and yet few seemed inclined to do anything to stop it.”  Some students said they had the impression the well-known abuse was a form of hazing or a rite of passage.

The university took disciplinary action against Strauss only after a series of student complaints in the mid-1990s. But even after that belated action, he was allowed to open an off-campus private men’s health clinic near the university. He continued to abuse patients there while keeping his title as a tenured faculty professor.

Ohio State Doctor sexually abused male student athletes

Gabe Rosenberg and Adora Namigadde of WOSU reported: “At least 50 students have filed lawsuits against Ohio State, arguing the university knew about and declined to act in response to complaints about Strauss. Their case is headed to mediation.”

Brian Garrett, one of the lead plaintiffs, said in an interview last week: “It’s what we’ve been saying. They’ve failed to act, investigate or act, and now we have validation.”

WOSU said OSU has referred the report to Columbus Police, the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

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Monsanto Black Ops revealed

Bayer begins internal investigation as law enforcement investigates. 

(May 17, 2019)  Monsanto has for at least a decade made “hit lists” of people it considers enemies, including select journalists, lawmakers, regulators, and scientists. Monsanto has targeted those people for blowing the whistle on the corporation’s poison practices, or for otherwise questioning or opposing the GMO agenda, the centerpiece of which is Monsanto’s toxic glyphosate weed killer chemicals. The company has now lost three straight trials for failing to warn Roundup users that it raises the risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  Awards of $289 million, $80 million, and $2 billion have been delivered by three juries, which all voted unanimously against Monsanto.

What’s at Stake for Monsanto

A Monsanto-made carcinogen, glyphosate – the main active ingredient listed in Roundup – now contaminates much of the world’s food supply, as well as the water, air, and soil that sustains us all.  Worldwide glyphosate contamination represents enormous potential liability for Monsanto, enough to destroy the poison giant altogether.  According to Natural News’ founder Mike Adams, anyone who has opposed Monsanto may have been subjected to one or more of the following dirty tactics:

  • Attempted bribery
  • Death threats and intimidation
  • Character assassination through well-funded “negative P.R.” campaigns
  • Defamation via coordinated Wikipedia attacks run by Monsanto operatives
  • Career destruction, such as getting scientists blacklisted from science journals
  • Being “doxxed” – having their home addresses publicized and their families and co-workers threatened

Monsanto has long been targeting Mike Adams and many others through what intelligence operatives call a “black ops” division. For more than ten years, Monsanto has spent perhaps $100 million or more, according to Mr. Adams, in coordinated efforts to silence, destroy, or character-assassinate anyone who has interfered or publicly questioned Monsanto’s market dominance and worldwide propaganda.

Now, at last, the criminal activity that Monsanto has carried out for years is finally being exposed, as law enforcement closes in on the crimes of the biotech bully now owned by Bayer.  According to Mr. Adams, Bayer appears to at least be making an effort to “clean house” and end Monsanto’s targeting of journalists, lawmakers, scientists (like Gilles-Eric Seralini), and regulators (like members of the International Agency for Research on Cancer) with intimidation and bribery campaigns.

Law enforcement prepares criminal charges against Monsanto operatives

“French prosecutors said on Friday they had opened an inquiry after newspaper Le Monde filed a complaint alleging that Monsanto – acquired by Bayer for $63 billion last year – had kept a file of 200 names, including journalists and lawmakers in hopes of influencing their positions on pesticides,” Reuters reported.

This “hit list” of journalists and lawmakers was directly translated into action to intimidate, threaten, or bribe these individuals. Mr. Adams claims this criminal behavior also occurs in the US and he has been a victim of it.  He reports that a Monsanto spokesperson now confirms Monsanto used the list to take out anyone standing in the way of the Monsanto agenda:

“There have been a number of cases where – as they would say in football – not the ball was played but the man, or woman, was tackled,” Matthias Berninger admitted to to Reuters. Mr. Berninger acts as “head of public affairs and sustainability” for Monsanto.

In his statement, Mr. Berninger also admits Monsanto collected “non-publicity available data about individuals,” and then issued an apology from Bayer for the activity.

Related: France bans Glyphosate

Bayer Apologizes over Monsanto Black Ops “Initiative”

“Following an initial review, we understand that this initiative has raised concerns and criticism,” said Bayer in a May 12th public statement. “This is not the way Bayer seeks dialogue with society and stakeholders. We apologize for this behavior.”

Monsanto Character Assassination Teams

Mr. Adams states that Natural News can reveal Monsanto hired black ops teams and private investigators to dig up the personal locations of individuals and their families. The company  then engaged in activities to threaten and intimidate those individuals while publicly smearing them online through coordinated, well-funded character assassination campaigns.

Mike Adams, who operates more than half a dozen web sites dealing with Monsanto and the GMO agenda, believes he has been “personally hunted by Monsanto-funded black ops teams who intended to destroy my credibility and physically harm my person in order to silence my public criticism of Monsanto and end the publishing of MonsantoMafia.comGMO.newsGlyphosate.news and the dozens of other websites that Monsanto did not want to see published.”

Mr. Adams has also been targeted by google, which has both de-listed and re-listed his web site at various times, and by YouTube, which disappeared his channel along with his more than 350,000 followers as part of a crackdown on what Google and YouTube have called “fake news.”

Mr. Adams stated on his web site: “This is a rare opportunity for Bayer to hear directly from the victims of the Monsanto ‘black ops’ division that Bayer likely was not aware it was acquiring when it purchased Monsanto, since the entire division operated in secret and relied on internal corporate money laundering to obfuscate its operations.”

Monsanto Black Ops revealed

The Texas-based “Health Ranger” has invited Bayer’s attorneys to contact him through his public contact page.  He said his attorneys are also contacting Bayer’s legal team to initiate discussions. Mr. Adams also notes that “The Food Babe,” Jeffrey Smith, and some 20 others in the independent media were targeted by Monsanto. If the LeMonde article about Monsanto targeting some 200 journalists in France is even close to being an accurate number, it’s not too far fetched to think that at least 20 journalists have been targeted by Monsanto in America. If Monsanto’s products are so harmless and so helpful, as the company says, if Monsanto is  producing something that people need, why does the company work so hard to propagandize the public and threaten those who exercise their free speech rights?

Stay tuned. . .

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NJ eases limit on Sex Abuse Lawsuits

(May 16, 2019) New Jersey passed a bill to ease the limit on filing sex abuse lawsuits. Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation May 13 to ease time limit restrictions on when childhood sexual abuse victims can seek damages in civil court. The bill takes effect on December 1, 2019.  It will “revive any action that was previously dismissed on grounds that the applicable statute of limitations had expired for a period of two years following the effective date.”

The bill means means a sex abuse victim now has from 12/1/19 until 12/1/2021 to file a case which was previously time barred.

Related:  NJ.com: Bill extends sex abuse limitations statute

This change to the law comes after a wave of details last year revealed the abuse of minors in the Roman Catholic Church.

The New Jersey governor said in a statement that he recognized opponents’ worries that the expanded statute will expose organizations to financial liability. However, he said that fear is outweighed by concern for sex abuse victims.

“I cannot deny victims the ability to seek redress in court for sexual abuse that often leaves trauma lasting a lifetime,” Governor Murphy said in a statement as he signed the new bill.

Victims now have until Age 55 to Pursue Litigation

The legislation allows child victims to sue until they reach age 55, or else within seven years of their first realization that the abuse caused them harm. The current statute of limitations protects only those up to age 20, or else two years after they first realized the abuse caused them harm.

The NJ bill also gives a two-year window to victims previously barred by the statute of limitations.  It also allows victims to seek damages from institutions.

New Jersey’s Catholic Conference opposed the bill during committee hearings. In a May 13 statement, the Archdiocese of Newark said it was committed to “comprehensive healing of those harmed.”

“(The) Catholic community, the legislature, and the Governor sincerely agree on one key position – the need to restore justice for the victims of sexual abuse in New Jersey,” said archdiocese spokeswoman Maria Margiotta.

Supporters of the new law gathered later Monday for a news conference that turned emotional.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg teared up while thanking survivors who had previously testified in support of the bill.  She said the stories were “so painful and so graphic. Thank God we’re standing here today.”

Churches, BSA, Others Liable

While the Catholic Church has been a focal point of debate on the legislation, it would also make other institutions, like the Boy Scouts – liable. Attorneys in New Jersey and elsewhere have begun recruiting people to sue the BSA, which says it now has policies in place to curtail abuse.

Many states have revisited their criminal and civil statutes of limitations since the 2002 Boston Globe reporting detailing abuse in the Catholic Church. (Dramatized in the 2017 film Spotlight.)  But only a handful of states – including California, Delaware, Hawaii, and Minnesota – have created new windows for abuse victims to file lawsuits. New York enacted a bill earlier this year that creates a window similar to the one in New Jersey, a state which already has no statute of limitations on criminal charges.

188 New Jersey Priests Credibly Accused

New Jersey legislatures have discussed the law change for nearly a decade.  It finally comes soon after the state’s five Catholic dioceses released the names of 188 priests credibly accused of sexually abusing minors over several decades. It also comes after they announced in February 2019 the creation of a compensation fund for victims.

New Jersey’s attorney general launched a task force in September 2018 to investigate the clergy abuse scandal. That task force came after a long grand jury investigation in Pennsylvania found that more than 300 priests had abused more than 1,000 children over several decades.

The bill had broad support from lawmakers and victims’ advocacy groups. The committee hearings on the bill featured hours of emotional testimony from abuse survivors.

Among those opposed to the measure were the state Catholic Conference and the New Jersey Civil Justice Institute.

Patrick Brannigan, the conference’s executive director, told lawmakers that the New Jersey church is fully cooperating with state law enforcement officials who are investigating abuse claims in the state.

He said that the church “sincerely regrets that some in the church failed to protect children.”

Mr. Brannigan also said the church agrees with the intent of the bill but differs on its approach, asking instead that the bill’s take-effect date of Dec. 1, 2019 be made for a later date.

Gov. Murphy also said that lawmakers have committed to send him a new bill correcting an error in the new law. Specifically, he said, part of the law fails to establish a standard of proof for cases against public entities.

Failing to hold them to the same standard as other institutions would be “unjustified,” said Gov. Murphy, and the new legislation would hold public entities to the same standard as other organizations.

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HIV Drug Lawsuits filed over Tenofovir

Gilead’s TDF Drugs cause Serious Side Effects

Men claim HIV drug caused bone and kidney problems. Lawyers have also filed a related class action lawsuit against Gilead.

(May 15, 2019) Two California men living with HIV filed a personal injury lawsuit last May against Gilead Sciences. The men claim Gilead intentionally delayed the development of a safer version of the HIV medicine called tenofovir. Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) – the original form of the drug – is sold under the brand name Viread. It is found in Truvada, Atripla, Stribild, and Complera.

Gilead HIV Drug Kidney & Bone Injuries

The LA Times reported that the lawsuit also claims Gilead hid the risks of the less-safe version of tenofovir while letting people with HIV take the more dangerous medicine which harmed their kidneys and bones.

Related: Truvada Lawsuit

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), which operates HIV clinics around the world, is funding the two men’s lawsuits. An AHF press release read: “[A] class action lawsuit against Gilead by two other Californians living with HIV who suffered bone and kidney damage from taking TDF was filed on behalf of all persons located within California who were prescribed and ingested Viread, Truvada, or Atripla from October 26, 2001, through the present, who were personally or whose physician was exposed to Gilead’s misrepresentations.”

AHF also filed a previous lawsuit against Gilead over tenofovir. A judge who heard a similar case in 2016 ruled that Gilead did not illegally manipulate the patent system, but an appeal is pending.

What is Tenofovir?

The FDA approved Gilead’s TDF as an HIV med in 2001. The FDA approved TAF in 2015 as part of Gilead’s single-tablet combo pill Genvoya. Since then, TAF has been included in other HIV single-tablet regimens, such as Biktarvy and Descovy

At issue, says the lawsuit, is that Gilead had already begun research on an improved version called tenofovir alafemanide fumarate (TAF).  Gilead wrongly withheld that research and delayed the release of TAF. According to the Times, the lawsuit claims, “[B]y holding on to its research and shelving TAF, Gilead could patent TAF separately and save it for development when their patent and exclusivity on TDF ran out, in 20 years.”

The Times reports that both men named in the lawsuit took the older tenofovir and developed related health issues. Michael Lujano of Los Angeles County took TDF from 2004 to 2015. He  developed osteopenia and osteoporosis of the spine, neck and hip. Jonathan C. Gary of San Diego County took TDF for 10 years starting in 2001. In 2010, he was diagnosed with the rare kidney disorder Fanconi syndrome, and last year was also diagnosed with osteopenia and osteoporosis.

“A company I trusted with my life took advantage of that trust by misrepresenting the side effects of TDF, calling it the ‘Miracle Drug’ and using other deceptive marketing strategies,” Mr. Lujano said in the AHF press release. “Gilead shelved a far safer drug, TAF, simply to increase its long-term profits. I’m bringing this lawsuit to try to hold Gilead responsible for their reckless focus on profits over patient safety.”

Rebuttal?

In related news, one recent analysis found that the updated version of tenofovir may not offer any more safety benefits than the first version. Please see the POZ feature: “Is Gilead’s Entire HIV Enterprise Built on a False Promise?

HIV Drug Lawsuits filed over Tenofovir

Plaintiffs’ attorneys are filing lawsuits for people with HIV who took one or more of Gilead’s tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) drugs –Truvada, Viread, Atripla, Complera, and Stribild –and then allegedly suffered kidney disease and/or bone density loss.

Nearly 20,000 people with HIV were allegedly diagnosed with kidney disease after taking TDF-based antiretroviral drugs. Studies have also shown TDF drugs may increase the risk of bone fractures. Nearly 6,000 bone breaks are alleged to be linked to the drug compound.

What Gilead Knew and When

Gilead allegedly knew that TDF could cause serious side effects as early as 2001. In 2002, the company allegedly tested a new formula – tenofovir alafenamide fumarate (TAF), later marketed as Genvoya and Odefsey – that achieves the therapeutic effect of TDF but uses a safer, lower dose. Plaintiffs believe the new formula isn’t linked to the same risk of kidney and bone injuries as the earlier version. Lawsuits are being considered for those who took Gilead’s Tenofovir drugs and then developed problems that include:

Kidney Injuries

  • Chronic kidney disease (CKD) or declining kidney function
  • Acute kidney injury (AKI) or acute renal failure (ARF)
  • Fanconi syndrome
  • Tubular dysfunction

Bone Injuries

  • Osteopenia
  • Osteoporosis
  • Bone fractures

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Monsanto loses $2B Verdict in Third Roundup Trial

Married Couple both have Lymphoma

(May 13, 2019) Monsanto lost the third Roundup trial in dramatic fashion today when a California jury found that the company’s Roundup likely caused a married couple to both develop a similar cancer. The jury awarded the two $2.055 billion in damages. It was Monsanto’s third straight loss in three trials. Some 13,400 Roundup cancer lawsuits are still pending against Monsanto. All the cases allege that Roundup causes cancer.

The jury of five women and seven men deliberated for nearly two days before finding that Roundup was a significant contributing factor in causing Alva and Alberta Pilliod to develop a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The jury awarded the pair $55 million in non-economic and economic damages, then hit Monsanto with $1 billion in punitive damages for each person.

Punitive Damages

In ordering punitive damages, the jury had to find that Monsanto “engaged in conduct with malice, oppression or fraud committed by one or more officers, directors or managing agents of Monsanto” acting on behalf of Monsanto.  The total of $2.055 billion doubled what the plaintiffs’ attorney suggested in his closing arguments.

During the five-week trial, the Pilliods’ claimed that decades of spraying Roundup on their four properties gave them both diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.  Alva Pilliod was diagnosed with DLBCL in 2011. His wife Alberta was diagnosed in 2015 with a type of DLBCL called primary central nervous system lymphoma.

The jury heard testimony from competing oncologists, pathologists and toxicologists from each side. Different experts gave different opinions over Roundup’s skin absorption rates and the science regarding claims that Roundup causes cancer.

The Pilliods’ experts pointed to animal studies, mechanistic data and epidemiological data that showed glyphosate is genotoxic, or DNA damaging. They offered evidence that Roundup causes oxidative stress which can cause cancer mutations. They also cited the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s 2015 finding that glyphosate is a probable carcinogen.

Glyphosate vs. Roundup
The Pilliods’ expert toxicologist, Dr. William Sawyer, testified that Monsanto made glyphosate 50 times more toxic by selling its Roundup formula with polyethoxylated tallow amine – or POEA –a surfactant banned in Europe. Dr. Sawyer explained that the surfactants allow glyphosate to easily penetrate the skin, just as they are designed to penetrate plants.

Dr. Sawyer said the body stores POEA under the skin for days and delivers glyphosate doses to the bones, where lymphoma starts. He also accused Monsanto of manipulating its absorption studies by heating and then freezing skin samples before testing them, a process which leads to skewed results.

US EPA used Fraudulent Data
Other experts called by the Pilliods testified that the U.S EPA approved Roundup in the 1970s using fraudulent studies. Industrial Bio-Test Laboratories, which was convicted of fraud, performed the studies later proved to be fraudulent, but EPA allowed the ruse to continue anyway. They said Monsanto kept selling Roundup even after the fraud was exposed, and refused for decades to conduct certain studies of its own Roundup formula, despite requests from the EPA and its own toxicologist.

The Pilliods’ counsel also argued in closing that Monsanto spent decades suppressing science linking its products to cancer by ghostwriting academic articles and feeding the EPA “bad science.”  He asked the jury to “punish” Monsanto with a $1 billion punitive damages award.

Carey Gilliam of U.S. Right To Know reported that the trial showed:

* Monsanto never conducted epidemiology studies for Roundup and its other formulations made with glyphosate to evaluate users’ cancer risks.

* Monsanto was aware surfactants in Roundup were much more toxic than glyphosate alone.

* Monsanto spent millions of dollars on covert public relations campaigns to finance ghostwritten studies and articles aimed at discrediting independent scientists whose work found dangers with Monsanto’s herbicides.

* When the US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry sought to evaluate glyphosate toxicity in 2015, Monsanto engaged the assistance of EPA officials to delay that review.

* Monsanto enjoyed a close relationship with certain EPA officials who repeatedly backed Monsanto’s assertions about glyphosate’s alleged safety.

* Monsanto’s worker safety recommendations called for wearing a load of protective gear when using glyphosate but did not warn the public to do the same.

Monsanto Rebuttal

Monsanto’s experts argued that the epidemiological data put forward by the decades-long Agricultural Health Study shows that glyphosate doesn’t pose a cancer risk. Monsanto lawyers argued that several regulatory agencies around the world, including the US EPA, Health Canada, and the Australian government have repeatedly concluded Roundup doesn’t pose a cancer risk. They also noted that the rate of non-Hodgkin lymphoma has plateaued over the past two decades, while Roundup use has increased. They argued that if the plaintiffs’ side were correct in alleging that Roundup caused the Pilliods’ cancer, NHL rates should coincide with the rise in Roundup’s ubiquitous blanketing of the earth.

Monsanto loses $2B Verdict in Third Roundup Trial

The California jury found Monsanto liable for failure to warn claims, design defect claims, negligence claims, and negligent failure to warn claims. They awarded the Pilliods’ $52 million in non-economic damages and $3.2 million in economic damages, along with a combined $2 billion in punitive damages.

The Pilliods’ trial began March 28, one day after a separate California federal jury ordered Monsanto to pay a California man $80 million after it agreed that Roundup exposure caused him to develop NHL. The first Roundup cancer trial concluded in August 2018 when a San Francisco jury in state court awarded a former school groundskeeper $289 million verdict that was later reduced – over the jury’s repeated objections – to $78 million. Monsanto has also appealed that reduced award.

The case is Pilliod v. Monsanto Co., case number RG17862702, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Alameda.

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Third Roundup Case Jury told to punish Monsanto with $1B Verdict

(May 9, 2019)  The thirdB Verdict"> jury to hear a Roundup case this year was told by the plaintiffs’ attorney yesterday to punish Monsanto with a $1 billion verdict.  In the five-week-long trial which wrapped yesterday after closing arguments, an attorney for Alva and Alberta Pilliod told the jury that Monsanto needed to be punished for misleading the couple and the world about the dangers of Roundup. Both Alva and Alberta Pilliod developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after decades of using Monsanto’s Roundup. Their attorney said Roundup caused them to develop NHL; Monsanto’s attorneys argued that it had not.

The Pilliods’ attorney told the jury they should find that Monsanto failed to warn his clients of Roundup’s cancer risks, and award them $1 billion in punitive damages and $55 million in combined economic and noneconomic damages. He said that if the Pilliods had known Roundup could cause cancer, they would have never touched it.  He argued that the jury needs to send Monsanto a message.

The Pilliods’ case is the third to go to trial out of 13,400 lawsuits pending that allege Roundup causes cancer. Their trial began March 28, a day after a separate California federal jury handed down an $80 million verdict against Monsanto in favor of Ed Hardeman.

The first trial concluded in August 2019 when a state jury in San Francisco awarded former school groundskeeper DeWayne “Lee” Johnson a $289 million verdict against Monsanto.  A state judge later slashed the verdict to $78 million, despite multiple pleas from the jurors to leave their full award in place.  Monsanto has also appealed that entire verdict

On May 8, closing arguments in the Pilliods’ trial drew a crowd of people into the small state courtroom, including DeWayne Johnson, Bobby Kennedy, Jr., Oliver Stone, and a juror from Mr. Johnson’s trial.

Roundup Born in Fraud
In the Pilliods’ closing argument, their attorney Brent Wisner described decades of Monsanto executives’ attempts to cover up or suppress science that linked Roundup to cancer. He said the weedkiller was “born in fraud,” because the U.S. EPA approved it in 1974 based on fraudulent studies conducted by Industrial Bio-Test Laboratories.  The EPA discovered the lab’s fraudulent work in 1976, but Monsanto was nevertheless allowed to keep Roundup on the market. Monsanto also repeatedly refused to conduct certain cancer studies in the 1980s and 1990s even after the EPA and its own toxicologist told Monsanto it needed to conduct those tests.

Monsanto spent years, meanwhile, trying to manipulate the scientific literature by ghostwriting academic articles while also feeding the EPA those same articles and others based on “bad science,” according to Mr. Wisner.

The Pilliods’ attorney said Monsanto executives also adopted a corporate strategy to combat the finding of the International Agency for Research on Cancer on Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate. The IARC concluded that glyphosate is a probable carcinogen in 2015, and Mr. Wisner reminded the jury that they had seen evidence of how Monsanto was moving to discredit the IARC even before the scientists had issued their finding.

US EPA captured by Industry
Mr. Wisner said Monsanto’s “bad science” included the fraudulent Industrial Bio-Test studies as well as the ghostwritten studies that “permeate” scientific literature today. He said the EPA is still citing those studies in its findings because the government has been captured by the industry. He also argued that Monsanto continued to sell Roundup with polyethoxylated tallow amine (POEA), a surfactant that makes glyphosate 50 times more toxic than glyphosate alone and is banned in Europe.

Roundup/Glyphosate and Lymphoma
Meanwhile, said Mr. Wisner, Monsanto refused to conduct cancer tests on Roundup and ignored studies showing it is easily absorbed through the skin, stored, then transported to the bones where lymphoma develops.

Mr. Wisner also argued that not one of Monsanto’s experts in this trial was an expert on chemicals that cause cancer.  He said they focused only on epidemiological data, and ignored animal studies and mechanistic data showing Roundup’s cancer links.

Monsanto Rebuttal – A Lawyer’s Charade

Monsanto’s attorney said during closing that the Pilliods shouldn’t be awarded anything. He said Mr. Wisner had performed a “charade” in a “rehearsed routine” in front of the jury with the plaintiffs’ toxicologist Dr. William Sawyer. He said Dr. Sawyer is a seasoned expert who has testified in 300 cases.  The Monsanto attorney said that during Dr. Sawyer’s testimony, Mr. Wisner and Dr. Sawyer planned an exchange in which the expert warned the lawyer to wear gloves when he picked up an open Roundup bottle, even though they both knew it contained only water. Monsanto’s attorney said the stunt was meant to mislead the jury about Roundup’s danger. He said the men disrespected the jury’s intelligence and the justice system.

Monsanto’s attorney also argued that Mr. Wisner and the Pilliods’ experts gave “wildly misleading” Roundup exposure estimates throughout the trial. He said Roundup doses given mice in cancer studies were 2 million times more Roundup than what the Pilliods had been exposed to.

In reality, argued Monsanto’s attorney, the couple both had years of health issues and a lengthy smoking history that together weakened their immune systems and put them at a higher risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He noted that Alva Pilliod had 22 instances of skin cancer since the 1970s, five brain infections from the herpes virus, and genital warts. He said Alberta Pilliod had Hoshimoto’s disease and bladder cancer.

Monsanto’s lawyer argued that Roundup is safe to use. He said multiple regulatory agencies around the world, including Health Canada, the U.S. EPA and the Australian government have repeatedly concluded that Roundup doesn’t pose a cancer risk. He said the Pilliods are asking the jury to “throw out” 40 years of EPA findings.

The Monsanto attorney also said the Pilliods’ case doesn’t meet the heightened burden of proof to warrant a punitive damages award. He admitted that some of the language in Monsanto’s internal emails “probably” didn’t use the right phrases, but said the Pilliods’ attorneys were “cherry-picking” phrases from hundreds of Monsanto’s internal emails to make the company look bad.  He also defended the ghostwritten scientific articles by saying they don’t address the issues at hand.

Mr. Wisner attempted to counter the Monsanto accusations that he had played a charade with Sawyer to manipulate the jury, but the judge stopped him, saying, “knock it off.”

After the Pilliods’ closings, Monsanto’s counsel asked the court to declare a mistrial, arguing that Wisner had made multiple arguments that were off-limits. But Alameda Superior Judge Winifred Smith denied the motion and refused Monsanto’s request to give a curative jury instruction.

The jury began its deliberations this morning.

Third Roundup Case Jury told to punish Monsanto with $1B Verdict
The case is Pilliod v. Monsanto Co., case number RG17862702, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Alameda.

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Uloric Gout Drug Lawsuits

Uloric Cardiovascular Injuries – Heart Attacks & Strokes

Gout drug lawsuits are being filed over Uloric, a medication designed to help treat chronic gout. A Uloric gout drug lawsuit alleges the maker of Uloric failed to warn users of the increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. Our law firm is representing people who have suffered cardiovascular issues while taking – or after taking – Uloric for at least 30 days.

Uloric Drug Lawsuits

Uloric (Febuxostat) is a xanthine oxidase inhibitor prescribed for the management of chronic hyperuricemia (excess uric acid) in adult patients suffering from gout. Takeda Pharmaceuticals brought Uloric to the market after it received FDA approval in February 2009.

When the FDA approved Uloric in 2009, the agency required a warning label to include the information that it raised risk of cardiovascular events. The FDA also required Takeda to perform a mandatory post-marketing cardiovascular safety study.

The 6,000-patient safety trial saw its results published in the New England Journal of Medicine on March 12, 2018. The study’s authors found a statistically significant increased risk of cardiovascular death for users of Uloric compared with users of allopurinol.

Gout Symptoms & Causes

Gout is a form of arthritis characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, redness, tenderness in the joints. Pain and swelling often manifest in the  in the feet and toes.  The pain and swelling are caused by elevated uric acid levels in the bloodstream.

Patients with hyperuricemia and gout already face an elevated risk of cardiovascular events.  The cause is not entirely understood, but may be linked to chronic inflammation associated with the underlying disease process. Most gout patients also suffer from various comorbidities which are also associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular events.

Gout is a disease state for which only a few medical therapies are available. Allopurinol has long been the standard of treatment. Brought to market first by Casper Pharma LLC in 1966, allopurinol has an established safety profile and has been available in generic form since at least September 1984.

Uloric Indications

Uloric is indicated only for those patients with severe renal dysfunction or those who cannot tolerate allopurinol. By comparison, allopurinol is at least as efficacious as Uloric, if not moreso, and it costs far less.

Uloric Lawsuit Compensation

For those who have experienced a heart attack or stroke while taking Uloric, we pursue damages for several losses. They include:

  1. Past and future medical and funeral expenses resulting from injuries.
  2. Past and future pain and suffering for injuries, treatment and recovery processes.
  3. Past and future wage loss, and loss of estate.
  4. Past and future loss of earning capacity.
  5. Past and future loss of enjoyment of life.
  6. Punitive damages, if applicable and warranted.

FDA Science regarding Uloric

On November 15, 2017, the FDA issued a Drug Safety Communication to the public:

“[P]reliminary results from a safety clinical trial show an increased risk of heart-related death with febuxostat (Uloric) compared to another gout medicine called allopurinol” and noted it would be conducting a comprehensive review of Uloric’s safety.

The FDA held a joint meeting of the Arthritis Advisory Committee and the Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee on January 11, 2019, during which the safety of Uloric was discussed. While the committee agreed that biological plausibility for cardiovascular death was unclear, they “agreed that there is a consistent signal of cardiovascular death associated with febuxostat”.

Most committee members agreed Uloric should no longer be designated as a first-line therapy for gout. Most agreed Uloric should be reserved for patients who cannot tolerate allopurinol or who found allopurinol ineffective. Most members also noted Uloric should not be used in the general gout population or in patients with a history of cardiovascular events or those at high risk for cardiovascular events.

Uloric Boxed Warning

The FDA issued a second Drug Safety Communication re: Uloric on February 21, 2019. The agency announced there was an increased risk of death associated with Uloric when compared with allopurinol. Consequently, the FDA required the addition of a boxed warning for cardiovascular death. It also required a Limitation of Use, which reserved treatment only for those patients with symptomatic hyperuricemia.

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FDA won’t Ban Implants Linked to Cancer

(May 2, 2019)   The U.S. FDA said yesterday that it won’t ban a certain textured breast implant linked to a type of cancer.  The agency has, however, strengthened warnings on textured breast implants.

Related: Breast Implant Lymphoma Warning

The FDA announcement followed a March 2019 safety hearing over breast implants linked with breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma.  BIA-ALCL is specifically associated with textured breast implants. The FDA said that based on all currently available data, it doesn’t believe these breast implants meet the legal standard to require their banning under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

Some other countries, however, have banned or restricted sales of some textured breast implants due to BIA-ALCL concerns. According to FDA, implants sold in those markets aren’t sold in the United States.

By comparison, some 80% of breast implants sold outside the U.S. are textured, according to FDA, compared to less than 10% of breast implants in the U.S..  In addition, the type of textured implants banned or limited by foreign regulators represents less than 5% of domestic breast implants.

Cancer, Chronic Fatigue, Joint & Muscle Pain
The FDA vowed it will take steps to improve information about the risks of breast implants and BIA-ALCL with textured implants.  The agency also said it will investigate reports of chronic fatigue and joint and muscle pain symptoms some women report from textured breast implants.

Breast Implant Illness
Some women have told the FDA they are concerned about how their immune systems react to their implants.  Some women have experienced a variety of symptoms sometimes called “breast implant illness,” said the agency. The FDA, however, said it doesn’t have definitive evidence that implants cause these symptoms, though current evidence supports the notion that these symptoms may be resolved with the implants’ removal.

The FDA said it will explore ways to include product information on the implants’ labels that patients can understand.

Lymphoma Testing, Boxed Warning, Report Filings
The FDA announced, “We also plan to work with the pathology community to educate pathologists about testing for this lymphoma specific to breast implants.”  The agency further said it will work with stakeholder groups on any labeling changes, including a possible boxed warning. The agency also said it is changing how breast implant makers file medical device reports. They will now file individual reports with the FDA instead of “alternative summary reporting.”

The FDA said, “This is part of a larger effort to end the alternative summary reporting program for all medical devices, which we intend to complete in the coming weeks.”

The “alternative summary reporting” program, said the FDA, was established in 1997 to review adverse events for well-established risks, but not patient deaths or unusual adverse events. In  the case of breast implants, that includes BIA-ALCL, which means the agency was not getting all of the actual data that it really needs to oversee the safety of these implants.

According to the FDA, these individual reports will now be available in the agency’s public database for medical device reports.  In addition, the FDA said it will be making past reports public in the coming weeks.

FDA won’t ban Implants linked to Cancer

“We believe these steps for more transparent medical device reports will contribute to greater public awareness of breast implant adverse events,” the FDA said.

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