September 2009

Separating Medical Malpractice Reform Myth from Health Care Debate

As thousands of Americans descended on the National Mall this past Saturday to protest President Barack Obamas health care agenda, the rallying cry for tort reform was again a popular theme. Who can forget the so-called medical malpractice crisis in New Jersey back in 2004, when hundreds of doctors in their white coats picketed outside the Statehouse in Trenton.

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In my blog post of August 5 I detailed a story about how drug maker Wyeth paid professional, non-physician ghostwriters to formulate articles that were then published by medical journals that doctors read to keep up with the latest changes in medical practice, including new information about prescription drugs.

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Marc Weingarten Gives Back to High School Civics Class

The lawyers at the Locks Law Firm are mindful of the importance of giving back to the communities where they live and work. Partner Marc P. Weingarten has shown his dedication to the community by teaching a class in high school civics. Marc participated this past academic year in a program called Advancing Civics Education. This unique program is a joint effort of the Philadelphia Bar Association and the School District of Philadelphia. It is designed to place attorneys and judges in Philadelphia public school classrooms to teach a civics course.

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Marc Weingarten Active in International Lecturing

Partner Marc P. Weingarten has been extremely active in lecturing internationally to various groups of lawyers and asbestos victims. Last November, he lectured at the Occupational Disease Conference of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) in Manchester, England. Marc spoke to them about Lung Cancer Attribution Without Asbestosis.

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In another exhibition of corporate greed over public good in the pharmaceutical sector, a recently released document (available here) reveals Forest Laboratories extensive effort to market its drug Lexapro to doctors. So whats the rub? Lexapro is much more expensive than other drugs in its class used to treat the same condition---depression---but has never been shown to work any better than older drugs that cost a fraction of what Lexapro does.

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Yesterday the pharmaceutical behemoth Pfizer agreed to pay 2.3 billion dollars to settle civil and criminal lawsuits that alleged it illegally marketed Bextra, its arthritis drug, which has since been withdrawn from the market due to concerns that it caused severe skin reactions and contributed to clotting event, including heart attacks and strokes. Pfizer, which is in the midst of a deal to acquire the pharmaceutical manufacturer Wyeth, agreed to this settlement ending the litigation that stemmed form the illegal marketing accusations.

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Marc Weingarten Receives Prestigious "Jackass Penguin Award"

Locks Law Partner Marc P. Weingarten was recently awarded the most prestigious international award given by the American Association of Justice (AAJ), the national organization of plaintiff trial lawyers. At the Annual Convention of AAJ in San Francisco in July, Marc received the 2009 Jackass Penguin Award from the International Relations Committee and the International Practice Section of AAJ.

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As a follow up to my blog post of August 6, New York State last week passed a law that makes texting while driving illegal. Assuming even reasonable police enforcement of that law, we all know that it will likely have little effect in changing the behaviors of those who insist on texting while driving. What can be done?

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Victory for Families of Mesothelioma Victims

Marc P. Weingarten, a partner in the Philadelphia office of Locks Law and Joseph M. McGill, a senior associate in that office recently were successful in the jury trials in Philadelphia state court for two gentlemen who tragically died of mesothelioma. The cases were tried together, in a consolidated manner, before one jury. One man died of mesothelioma at the age of 93 and was awarded $492,000. The other gentleman died of mesothelioma at the age of 63 and was awarded $732,000.

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