“Stop-Smoking” Drug Chantix May Have Caused Psychotic and Suicidal Behavior Leading to Death of Musician

Concerns have surfaced that Chantix, the stop-smoking drug manufactured by Pfizer, may have led to musician Carter Albrecht’s bizarre and tragic death on September 5, 2007. That rare psychotic and suicidal behavior are possible side effects of Chantix is mentioned in extreme fine print of the original box insert. However, large-print, pharmacy handouts given to users of the drug warning of nausea, changes in dreaming, constipation, gas, and vomiting with the use of Chantix do not mention rare psychotic and suicidal behavior.

Albrecht was keyboard player from pop-music group Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians. Albrecht was also a singer, … Read the rest

FDA Warns Off-Label Prescription of Painkiller Fentora Can Cause Death and Life-Threatening Side Effects

The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning today about the risk of potentially fatal overdoses with Fentora, a narcotic painkiller manufactured by Cephalon. The action comes less than two weeks after the company sent a letter to doctors notifying them of three drug-related deaths.

The FDA has received reports of death and life-threatening side effects in patients who have taken Fentora. The reported deaths were the result of improper selection of patients, dosing, or improper product substitution, according to the FDA. One of the deaths was a suicide.

Last October, the FDA approved Fentora for use in cancer patients … Read the rest

Hazards Associated with Children’s Toys Go Well Beyond China and Lead Paint

2007 is on its way to becoming the year when more toys were recalled than any other year in the history of the toy industry. As of August 15, 2007, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) had recalled 40 toys, which extrapolates to 56 recalls by the end of the year. Much attention has been paid to the problem of toys colored with lead paint. Mattel, the world’s largest toy company, announced three major recalls, involving some 20 million items. The company said a number of toy cars and Barbie-related accessories had been colored with lead paint. … Read the rest

New York City and New York State File Suit Against MERCK Alleging Medicaid Fraud

Both New York City and New York State have joined together and, following the example of various other states, including Louisiana Mississippi and Utah, have filed suit against Merck& Company.

It is alleged that Merck not only defrauded consumers but also defrauded the state Medicaid program and other government insurance programs by purposefully concealing the dangerous side effects of Vioxx.

Vioxx was prescribed to patients for the treatment of migraines and arthritis but caused a high increase in heart attacks and strokes, and was pulled off the market in September of 2004.

Medicaid claims that had Merck been forthcoming of … Read the rest

Kid Nation Controversy

“40 Kids have 40 days to build a brave new world without adults to help or hinder their efforts,” says CBS in describing its new controversial show, Kid Nation.

The program, set to debut on September 19th, is being described as a hybrid of CBS’s Survivor and Rudyard Kipling’s Lord of the Flies. During the 40 days, the children, aged 8 to 15, cooked, cleaned, formed a government, and ran a business without the supervision of any adults in a deserted New Mexico location (which is reported to be a town created with old movie sets). The filming … Read the rest

Wrongful Denials of HMO Treatment in New York are Common and are Often Successfully Appealed

Many patients of health maintenance organizations (“HMO”) are unaware of their legal right to appeal a decision denying their requested treatment. The desired treatment is normally denied deemed as”medically unnecessary” or “experimental.” The law also only provides for a mere 45 day deadline in which one can file this appeal.

The ignorance of various patients of their ability to appeal is particularly problematic in light of the fact that, according to the New York State Insurance Department, approximately 42.6 and 49.4 percent of the cases that are appealed are in fact reversed.

Therefore, it is important that patients are made … Read the rest

New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation Publicly Releases Data on Infection and Death Rates

On September 7th, 2007, the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (NYCHHC), the nation’s largest public health system treating 1.3 million patients a year, began publicly releasing data on infection and death rates at its 11 hospitals and 4 nursing homes.

The safety and performance information is posted on the hospital corporation’s Web site, www.nyc.gov/hhc. The Web site allows the public to see the overall death rate, the rate of deaths after heart attacks, preventable bloodstream infections and pneumonia cases, among other measures, at the 11 hospitals.

Information on the Web site also includes what the NYCHHC considers to … Read the rest

“Medical Terrorists” – Body Part Snatchers

There appears to be a growing trend of “body snatching,” which includes illegally removing human tissue from cadavers and selling the tissue to firms that process it for medical facilities and researchers. As a result, the usual safety screening procedures that take place for the donation of body parts are not performed and there is a growing concern that the procured tissue is tainted.

In fact, this black market business has caused many tissue recipients to receive infected and diseased tissue. Both the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are insisting that those who have received tissue … Read the rest

School’s Open – Pedestrian Safety Tips

According to the Federal Highway Administration, 15 percent of kids today travel to school on foot or on a bicycle, compared with 42 percent in 1969. New York has the fourth highest annual pedestrian deaths and injuries in the United States. Fortunately, the fatality rate for children pedestrians has dropped dramatically over the last 30 years or so, decreasing 84 percent since 1975. With schools opening for the year, it seems timely to point out some safety tips for pedestrians:

  1. DON’T assume that obeying “Walk/Don’t Walk” lights decreases your risk of getting hit. Studies show that standard pedestrian signals have
Read the rest