United States of America

On September 11th, James Jones, a Missouri man, filed an MDL class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. This Valsartan lawsuit was filed against several manufacturers of the drug Valsartan, which is used to treat heart failure and high blood pressure.

What does this mean?  It means that the Valsartan cases are now moving forward very quickly.

In a few short months, we could have a full-blown MDL class action lawsuit with thousands of potential plaintiffs.

Yesterday, I wrote an article noting a Danish study that concluded that there were no long-term cancer risks associated with NDMA-contaminated valsartan tablets. While NDMA might not have long-term cancer risk effects, it is not the only impurity found in valsartan.

On September 13, Health Canada announced that another impurity, N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA), was found in valsartan that was manufactured by Zeijiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals (ZHP) in China.

The FDA has also discovered NDEA in some ZHP-manufactured valsartan through testing. According to the European Medicines Agency (EMA), NDEA has been found in valsartan made by ZHP since they changed its manufacturing process in 2012. NDEA, like NDMA, is classified as a possible human carcinogen.

Earlier this month the FDA announced a major recall of prescription blood pressure and heart drugs which contain the active ingredient valsartan.  You can expect a large number of valsartan lawsuits to follow.

Valsartan is an active ingredient that is widely used in a number of brand name and generic drugs used to treat hypertension and heart failure.  It was recently discovered that when valsartan is manufactured in a certain way it can contain a dangerous impurity called N-nitrosodimethylamine (NMDA).

NMDA is a known human carcinogen.  The valsartan medications containing the dangerous NMDA impurity have been linked to a specific pharmaceutical ingredient distributed by a Chinese company — Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals.  Zhejiang Huahai was manufacturing the contaminated valsartan component and selling it to several U.S. pharmaceutical companies including Teva Pharmaceuticals Ltd. and Solco Healthcare.  Zhejiang Huahai discovered NMDA impurities in its product which eventually led to the FDA recall.

According to a study conducted by Danish scientists, there is seemingly no increased short-term risk of cancer in patients who use valsartan contaminated with the impurity, N-nitrosodimethylamine or NDMA. This study, published in the BMJ, may put into question how serious of a cancer risk NDMA-contaminated valsartan may have. The Food and Drug Administration has recently issued voluntary recalls on Valsartan because of this potential cancer risk NDMA contamination may have.

The question many lawyers and victims have is will this impact the Valsartan lawsuits?  We answer this below.

How was the study conducted?

While smoking is commonly known to be extremely harmful to one’s health, most people associate smoking with lung cancer, emphysema, or even heart disease. However, there are other long-term health effects associated with smoking that scientists are just starting to understand.

Researchers in South Korea concluded that cigarette smoking increases one’s likelihood of getting dementia, while quitting or even smoking less can decrease one’s likelihood. This was based on a study they conducted on the relationship between smoking cessation and dementia.

The Study

On August 30, 2018, General Motors announced a recall on 210,628 vehicles in the United States and 19,385 vehicles in Canada because of an issue involving brake pedals. This recall affects different 2018 and 2019 models including the Chevrolet Bolt, Cruze, Equinox, Impala, Malibu, and Volt. It also affects the 2018 and 2019 models of the Buick Cadillac XTS, LaCrosse, Regal, and GMC Terrain as well.  Let’s just say this is a huge recall that appears to have had an impact of GM’s stock. It has been heading south since the recall. Why?  Recalls cost a lot of money that should be in the pocket of shareholders.

Why the recall?

The cars recalled had rear-brake pistons that were improperly chromed and tempered during the manufacturing process. This can cause hydrogen gas to be trapped inside the piston. If the piston containing hydrogen gas contacts brake fluid, this gas can be released into the vehicle’s overall brake system. This can affect rear-brake performance and increase crash risk.

On September 6, 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) acknowledged a recall of the 2018 edition of Volkswagen’s Atlas SUV.

Why the recall?  Some Atlas’ airbags may deploy randomly, potentially injuring its occupants. According to Volkswagen, they received one report involving curtain airbags being deployed randomly. Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. is recalling about 9,600 vehicles. Each of them was manufactured at its Chattanooga, Tennessee plant.

The cause of this error is because of improper part installation. During production, the air condition evaporator drain tube contorted into an irregular position. This resulted in water drain into the airbag control module rather than outside of the car. A wet airbag control module can result in an unintended airbag deployment. Random airbag deployment can increase the risk of both injury and accident. The twisted tube may also leak water into the passenger compartment, which can cause a foul smell or a wet carpet inside the car. A warning light may show up on the dashboard.

Bayer announced today that after thousands of reports of injuries from women and repeated safety restrictions by regulators said Friday that it will stop selling the device in the U.S.

What is the deal with these medical devices and what is happening with the lawsuits in these cases?

The Essure Permanent Birth Control System was to provide women a safer, less involved (and painful) tubal ligation alternative. This medical device was triumphantly marketed as the “[only] sickwomanFDA-approved permanent form of birth control with a procedure that can be performed in an office setting without general anesthesia.” Unfortunately for the 750,000 women who have used this system since the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved it in 2002, both new scientific research and anecdotal evidence suggest that Essure has caused substantial injuries to thousands of patients, motivating calls among consumer advocates for the drug’s recall and spurring legal action.

How Essure Works and Why the System Appeals to Women

The Essure system consists of two flexible coils that are inserted into the Fallopian tubes in order to produce permanent sterilization. Both patients and doctors have liked Essure, at least conceptually, because the system offers a less-invasive solution than tubal ligation and other birth control surgeries, ostensibly with shorter healing time and fewer side effects. Premarket studies tracked women’s pregnancies before and after Essure implantation, leading Bayer to assert that the device is 99.83 percent effective at preventing pregnancy and that “mild to moderate pain” and “spotting” are the most common side effects.

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Our law firm handles medical malpractice cases around the country.  These are some of the questions we are most commonly asked by people who have suffered or lost a loved one because of the medical malpractice of a doctor or other healthcare provider.

What is the Average Settlement for Medical Malpractice?

If you have a potential medical malpractice claim, you may be wondering how much it could be worth or what the average settlement value is for malpractice cases.  Nationwide, the average value of a medical malpractice settlement or verdict is roughly $250,000.  (Our law firm’s average in recent years is in the millions.)  Of course, this is a macro scale number that doesn’t necessarily tell you very much about the potential value of your individual case. For a better understanding of how to value your own case, there are a few things to keep in mind.  First, the value of a claim is driven not by how badly the doctors messed up, but by how serious the resulting injuries were.  In other words, malpractice values are based on the level of injury not the level of negligence.  No matter how egregious or grossly negligent the doctors were,  if it only results in minor injuries the case will not be worth very much.  When the malpractice results in a serious, permanent injury or death the case will be worth much more.

Our law firm handles birth injury cases all over the country. We recently picked up a case in Minnesota. The first thing we need to do when going to a new jurisdiction is research the law and talk to local counsel. I thought it would be a good idea to publish our research. If someone else had done put their results online, it would have made our job a lot easier.

What is the Statue of Limitations for Minnesota Medical Malpractice Claims?

Under Minnesota law, all malpractice claims against “health care providers” must be brought within 4 years of the date that the “cause of action accrued.” Min. Stat. § 541.076. The term “health care provider” includes doctors, dentists, nurses, therapists and any other licensed professional. It also includes hospitals, nursing homes and other facilities providing medical care. Min Stat. § 145.61.  (In birth injury cases in Minnesota, the statute of limitations is seven years.)