Judge Gets Threats Over J&J's Bankruptcy Call

Judge Gets Threats Over J&J's Bankruptcy Call
Thu, 09/15/2022 - 20:09

A bankruptcy judge in the United States claimed he has received threats relating to the bankruptcy of a Johnson & Johnson company he is overseeing, with some comments implying that the case is an attempt to cover up damages purportedly caused by J&J's talc products.

The Chief United States Bankruptcy Judge in Trenton, New Jersey, stated during a hearing that he and his staff had received furious and threatening comments via phone calls, voicemails, emails, and social media posts since his February decision not to dismiss LTL Management LLC's bankruptcy case.

In an attempt to settle nearly 38,000 claims alleging that its Baby Powder and other talc products caused mesothelioma and ovarian cancer, J&J formed the subsidiary in October, allocated its talc liabilities to it, and declared bankruptcy a few days later. J&J, which has refuted the claims and stated that its products are safe, did not respond to a request for comment right away.

The judge could not specify how many threats the court had received or who had sent them but referenced a specific tweet from August in which he was referred to as a "murder cover upper" and a vague warning that "your day is coming" as an example.

The judge praised the attorneys on the case for their "zealous advocacy on emotionally sensitive matters," but advised them to "be mindful of the language they use," warning that overheated rhetoric might attract abuse and weaken the justice system.

He also cited a recent court filing from plaintiffs' counsel stating that the bankruptcy court's authority is "not for sale," claiming that it unjustly indicated he benefitted financially from LTL's bankruptcy.

The jury's comments came during a hearing to decide whether New Mexico and Mississippi should be allowed to pursue their cases against J&J for deceiving customers about the cancer risks connected with talc products.

The states claim they are not bound by an earlier court ruling that halted private plaintiffs' litigation during LTL's bankruptcy. According to the states' counsel, the judge lacks the jurisdiction to prevent states from enforcing their consumer protection statutes.

The states' cases, according to LTL's counsel, are "inextricably interwoven" with the private talc claims and must all be delayed to enable LTL time to achieve a restructuring agreement.

J&J set aside $2 billion in bankruptcy to settle talc claims and has maintained that the bankruptcy action is a fairer and speedier means to settle all cancer-related claims than continuing litigation in other courts.

Denton Physician Pled Guilty Over Drug Trafficking Charges

 Denton Physician Pled Guilty Over Drug Trafficking Charges
Wed, 09/14/2022 - 20:56

According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, a Denton physician pled guilty to federal drug trafficking charges after being accused of overprescribing powerful opioids to drug-seeking patients without assessing them.

The 63-year-old doctor admitted the conspiracy to distribute and administer restricted narcotics as well as health care fraud. According to the announcement, he unlawfully administered about 370,000 tablets of hydrocodone beginning in 2017. He even pre-signed the strongest painkiller prescription for individuals who displayed drug-seeking behaviour on many occasions.

According to the announcement, the individuals were never completely assessed or forced to give any proof explaining their pain before getting the prescription.

According to the statement, the physician was only present at the office approximately half the time he reported, and prescriptions were prepared for patients while he was away on vacation.

The examination also discovered that his four nurse practitioners saw 20 to 30 patients each day and were paid on a production-based rather than a fixed basis. The nurses reportedly invoiced Medicare and TriCare under the physician's medical identity number, raising the government's expenses for his services.

The physician faces 20 years in prison for the wrongdoings of conspiracy to distribute and administer controlled medications and health care fraud. An assistant U.S. attorney is looking after the proceedings of the case, and the sentencing hearing is yet to be scheduled.

Opioid-reversal Drug's Vending Machine's Popularity Grows

Opioid-reversal Drug's Vending Machine's Popularity Grows
Tue, 09/13/2022 - 19:32

A vending machine that can carry up to 150 units of naloxone, the opioid-reversing medicine, has been put in the lobby of the Forsyth County Detention Center to make that transition safer for drug users.

According to a drug use educator with the county's Forsyth Regional Opioid and Substance Use Team, naloxone is freely available to anybody and needs no interaction with staff. FROST, as it is known in the Forsyth County Department of Public Health, is made up of community leaders striving to stop drug use.

Forsyth County is one of five counties in the state to get a vending machine as a result of National Center for State Courts funding. Wilkes, Buncombe, Pitt, and Cumberland are the other counties that implemented a similar approach.

The educator also stated that officials are searching for smart methods to distribute naloxone and enhance overdose prevention efforts within the justice-involved community.

Each vending machine package contains two doses of naloxone, as well as instructions in English and Spanish. A QR code on the machine also gives information about treatment and detoxification clinics, as well as shelter and food services.

According to a 2018 UNC-Chapel Hill research, former convicts were 40 times more likely than the general population to die of an opioid overdose in the first two weeks following release.

The Twin City Harm Reduction Collective and the health department are restocking the naloxone machine. It was installed on August 24, and within a few days, 89 of the 150 kits had been claimed.

Over the last several years, the usage of vending machines to deliver naloxone has grown across the country. Their increased use coincides with an alarming increase in the incidence of fatal overdoses.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 108,000 people will die from an overdose in 2021, with opioids accounting for more than 80,000 of those deaths.

According to current N.C. Department of Health and Human Services data, North Carolina, is on track to surpass a record 3,961 overdose fatalities in 2021.

Juul To Pay $440M To Settle States' Teen Vaping Probe

Juul To Pay $440M To Settle States' Teen Vaping Probe
Mon, 09/12/2022 - 19:02

Juul Labs, the producer of electronic cigarettes, has agreed to pay roughly $440 million to resolve a two-year investigation by 33 states into the marketing of its high-nicotine vaping devices, which have long been accused for triggering a nationwide spike in teen vaping.

The Connecticut Attorney General announced the agreement on behalf of the states and Puerto Rico, who joined together in 2020 to investigate Juul's early advertising and promises about the benefits of its technology as a smoking substitute.

The deal, which contains various limits on how Juul may sell its products, eliminates one of the most serious legal risks to the organization, which is still facing nine other lawsuits from other states. Furthermore, Juul is facing hundreds of personal lawsuits filed on behalf of minors and others who claim to have been addicted to the company's vaping devices.

According to a statement, the states' investigation discovered that Juul advertised its e-cigarettes to underage minors through launch parties, product freebies, commercials and social media posts featuring young models.

According to the attorney general, the deal will go a long way toward stopping the wave of youth vaping. He even stated that there is no guarantee that the problem of youth vaping would be solved. It will continue to be an epidemic, but the move has had a significant influence on the market leader's conduct.

The $438.5 million will be distributed over a six to ten-year period. The state of Connecticut will contribute at least $16 million to vaping prevention and education activities. Juul previously reached settlements in Arizona, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Washington.

The settlement sum is almost 25% of Juul's $1.9 billion in U.S. sales last year. It was an "agreement in principle," which means the states will finalize the settlement agreements in the coming weeks.

The majority of the restrictions established by the agreement would not apply immediately to Juul, which stopped using parties, giveaways, and other promotions after being investigated some years ago. The corporation now accounts for around one-third of the retail vaping industry in the United States, down from 75% a few years ago.

The use of e-cigarettes among the youth increased in the years following Juul's 2015 introduction, prompting the FDA to proclaim an "epidemic" of underage smoking among young people. The enormous growth, according to health experts, risks hooking a generation of young people on nicotine.

However, Juul has mostly been in retreat since 2019, discontinuing all U.S. advertising and withdrawing its fruit and candy flavours from shop shelves.

The FDA announced earlier this summer that all Juul e-cigarettes will be removed from the market. Juul appealed the decision in court, and the FDA has now reopened its scientific investigation of the company's technology.

The FDA inquiry is part of a broad move by authorities to put the multibillion-dollar vaping business under examination after years of delays. For adult smokers searching for a less dangerous alternative to cigarettes, the FDA has approved a few e-cigarettes from Juul's competitors.

While Juul's early marketing targeted youthful, urban professionals, the business has recently altered its attention to selling its product as a nicotine replacement for elderly smokers.

According to the corporation, it is entirely focused on the future in order to meet the aim of transitioning adult smokers away from cigarettes and combating underage usage.

As part of the settlement, Juul agreed to desist from a variety of marketing techniques. They include avoiding to use of cartoons, bribing social media influencers, showing people under the age of 35, promoting on billboards and public transportation, and displaying advertisements in any medium unless at least 85% of their audience is adults.

The agreement also includes limitations on where Juul products may be sold in shops, age verification on all purchases, and restrictions on online and retail sales.

Juul first marketed its high-nicotine pods in mango, mint, and cream flavors. Students vaping in toilets and halls between classes became an epidemic in American high schools.

However, according to new government survey data, youths are drifting away from the corporation. Many vaping youths now choose disposable e-cigarettes, some of which are still available in pleasant, fruity flavours.

Overall, the poll found a roughly 40% decrease in teen vaping rates, as many children were compelled to learn from home during the epidemic. Nonetheless, federal officials warned against interpreting the findings because they were collected online for the first time, rather than in classrooms.