Health

Health

New York City sues ‘Big Pharma’ for fueling opioid epidemic

0

Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York City, along with his wife Chirlane McCray, who directs the city’s mental health and drug addiction programs, filed a lawsuit against the manufacturers of prescription opiates. These opiates, including OxyContin, fentanyl, and Percocet, have resulted in tens of thousands of drug abuse deaths across the United States. The lawsuit, claiming $500 million in damages, aimed to “hold manufacturers and distributors to account” for the crisis.

More than 60 lawsuits have been filed in federal court by cities and counties across the United States, and are being handled by one federal judge in Ohio: Dan Polster. Nominated to a seat on the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio by President Bill Clinton in 1997, he was confirmed by the Senate the following year. Polster was selected by a federal judicial panel in December 2017 to oversee more than 200 consolidated opioid-related lawsuits in multidistrict litigation.

New York City’s lawsuit targeted several companies led by Purdue Pharma, the creator of OxyContin. One of the original high-strength opioids, OxyContin entered the market two decades ago with an aggressive marketing campaign that failed to include warnings about addiction or abuse. Other defendants named in the lawsuit include Endo, the manufacturer of Percocet; Janssen, a fentanyl patch manufacturer; and Cephalon, the creator of fentanyl lozenge Actiq. Other defendants in the case include Teva, Watson, Johnson & Johnson, and Allegran.

High profile cases of opiate abuse have recently been in the headlines, with singers Prince and Tom Petty having fentanyl in their bloodstreams at the time of their deaths in 2015 and 2017. According to the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 47.7 million people in the United States abused prescription drugs or used illegal substances in 2015, with almost five out of every one hundred people abusing prescription painkillers. That same year, over 50,000 drug overdose deaths were recorded, with prescription or illegal opioids accounting for over 60% of those deaths.

Mayor de Blasio said the opioid epidemic was “a national tragedy” during a news conference announcing the lawsuit. “It’s time for Big Pharma to pay for what they’ve done.” Zachary Carter, New York City’s top prosecutor, denied the idea that the lawsuit represented a city initiative, calling it a “coincidence of timing”. New York City’s suit is similar to one the city of Chicago filed in 2014, a case that has produced millions of pages of documents and hundreds of interviews. New York City is being represented by Simmons, Hanly, Conroy, a firm based in Alton, Ill., in the suit.

US teen died after drinking caffeine too quickly, coroner says

0

A teenager by the name of Davis Allen Cripe has passed away in April as a result of consuming three caffeinated beverages in under two hours’ time.  He ingested a large Mountain Dew, a McDonald’s latte and an energy drink which caused him to have a “Caffeine-induced cardiac event causing a probable arrhythmia.”  A coroner has stated that he did not have any pre-existing heart problems and that this was not a caffeine overdoes, but the speed that the caffeine was assumed.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued a warning for teenagers as well as children to be careful when consuming energy drinks being that they are not tested for their safety.  Energy drink consumption must be moderate and monitored the same way drugs and alcohol need to be.  Davis consumed around 470mg of caffeine while the European Food Safety Authority has stated that ingesting any more than 400mg will inevitably lead to irregular heartbeat, nervousness, insomnia, high blood pressure and possible panic attacks.  Caffeine behaves the same way as a drug being that it is addictive, a stimulant and effects the central nervous system in the body in just minutes.

Drinking 400mg of caffeine a day is supposedly safe for adults that are deemed as healthy, aka 4 coffee cups worth, 10 cans of soda or 2 energy drink supplement shots.  The warning indications of overdosing on caffeine include, but are not limited to, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, muscle tremors, fast heartbeat, insomnia, headache and upset stomach.  Pregnant women and younger children should not be ingesting energy drinks for any reason.

Religious Freedom for Corporations

0

There are plenty of corporations in the United States that have based their business models on religious principals. Most are Christian principals.  Since the inception of the Affordable Care Act, many of these Christian based corporations have decided that they do not have to provide birth control to their female employees under the Affordable Care Act, although, it is a requirement for them to do so.

Supreme Court Rules on The Affordable Care Act

0

The opposition to the Affordable Care Act put forth by the Obama Administration runs deep.  However, the Supreme Court upheld the law in a 6 to 3 vote in 2015.