Patients in hospitals expect to be competently treated for their medical problems. They expect their broken bones to be mended, their surgeries to be successful, their infections and diseases cured. Parents expect that their children will be made well, and families expect their loved ones’ pain to be ameliorated. The last thing patients expect is for the hospital to make them sicker, or cause them to die. (more…)
I previously raised the point that Toyota may have been playing a shell game by distracting people with the argument that its mats caught the accelerator pedal, rather than there being an internal problem causing many of its models to have Sudden Unanticipated Acceleration (”SUA”) problems. Now comes news that an internal Toyota memo in 2007 boasts that it had saved $100 million dollars by limiting its recall to replacing floor mats in 55,000 vehicles as some sort of solution to the problem of SUA complaints being made. That is, even though the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) had over 2,000 complaints of SUA and 34 deaths had been blamed on SUA in Toyota vehicles, there may have been aggressive lobbying effort by Toyota to limit its recall. Indeed, the internal memo calls it a “win” for Toyota. Of course, limiting federal investigations is not a “win” for consumers or for anyone sharing the road with those Toyota models. NHTSA has been investigating Toyota SUA complaints for about 7 years now. To understand one possible explanation of why so many NHTSA investigations were closed with no further federal action being taken, see my earlier blog about Toyota hiring NHTSA regulators to work for Toyota and then assigning them the job of negotiating recalls with NHTSA.
The truth about the Toyota Sudden Unanticipated Acceleration (“SUA”) defect lies beneath the headlines. The issues include: the reason why Toyota did not solve the problem even though it was identified over two (2) years ago; why Toyota decided to distract the American public with claims that its loose mats moved; how Toyota’s use of “common parts” in its manufacturing facilities may end up identifying an internal electronic cause rather that the mechanical (“sticky pedal”) case which Toyota now claims is the culprit. (more…)
Today, the New Jersey Supreme Court recognized the reality of the globalization of commerce and gave protection to New Jersey residents from injuries caused by products manufactured by foreign manufacturers. In NiCastro v. McIntyre, the Court held that a foreign manufacturer who manufactures a machine that injures a New Jersey resident will be subject to jurisdiction in the state courts of New Jersey if the manufacturer knew or should have known through its distribution scheme that its products were being sold in New Jersey. This is a major victory for the people and manufacturers of New Jersey, for it ensures that foreign companies will not escape having to face their share of responsibility for injuries occurring in New Jersey. Jonathan Miller and Michael Galpern, partners with Locks Law Firm, briefed the appeal on behalf of the Association of Trial Lawyers – New Jersey, now known as the New Jersey Association for Justice. Mr. Miller argued before the Court that it should recognize the reality of globalization, which it did.
Readers of beauty magazines are familiar with the articles and advertisements that feature physicians touting the “magical results” that come from using various products to correct conditions ranging from cellulite to droopy underarm skin, from yellow teeth to wrinkles. In response to escalating complaints from consumers, the FDA has launched a new effort to rein in the more extravagant claims—especially when the claims involve doctor-pitchmen or pitch-women, and the products are drugs.
The New York Times today reports that in a shot across the beauty and the doctor medical bow, FDA has issued a warning to a well known dermatologist and clinical researcher in Miami Beach alleging that she improperly advocated the use of an as yet unapproved drug she promoted for the “treatment” of wrinkles. Dr. Leslie Baumann was issued a warning letter advising the doctor that she engaged in promotion of an unapproved drug, which is a violation of FDA policy. Unfortunately, Dr. Baumann is rather the rule than the exception in an industry where media exposure is critical for both the sales of such products and to expand the clientele of the doctors that use them.