Opioids: Trial Paused & Promising Pain-Reducing Alternative Explored

Judge Robert D. Drain of the U.S. bankruptcy court in White Plains, NY has granted trial suspension until Nov. 6 to bankruptcy litigations against Purdue Pharmaceuticals and the Sackler family. According to Drain, this pause will allow time for the two parties to hash out their differences regarding the Sacklers’ prospective cash payout of $3 billion, per a proposal by Purdue. Connecticut’s attorney general William Tong expressed disappointment over the pause and believes the Sacklers can afford to pay more than was proposed.

Meanwhile, in Washington D.C., Sibley Memorial Hospital has entered the spotlight with their alternative to opioid use. Called Nerve Block, the local anesthetic can numb the nerves for a variety of surgeries including total joint replacements, abdominal surgeries, appendectomies, hernia repairs, and thorax surgeries on the heart, lungs, or esophagus. Using this method produces fewer side effects, less nausea, lower risk of complications, and healthier patients leaving according to doctors. Nerve Block has been scouted by other hospitals as a viable alternative to chronic opioid prescriptions.

JUUL: Flavored Pods Suspended, Restrictions Placed on Ads

Last Thursday, JUUL Labs announced a suspension of flavored JUUL pods except for mint, menthol, and tobacco. A statement from JUUL Labs accompanying the announcement explained, "we must reset the vapor category by earning the trust of society and working cooperatively with regulators, policymakers, and stakeholders to combat underage use while providing an alternative to adult smokers." 

JUUL Labs was also the subject of a settlement that creates binding rules for how the company can market itself. Products can no longer be advertised within 1000 feet of a school or playground, use models under the age of 28 in advertisements, sponsor sporting events or concerts that allow patrons under 21, and cannot advertise on social media or media outlets where at least 15% of viewership is under the age of 21. Proponents of the agreement have called it a significant victory in fighting youth addiction to e-cigarettes. 

Vaginal Mesh: Ireland’s Mesh-Injured Denied Redress For Faulty Implants

Last week in America, Johnson & Johnson paid out $117 million for deceptive marketing and failure rate of their transvaginal meshes. Overseas, however, women’s plight of faulty vaginal meshes is underrecognized. Simon Harris, Health Minister of Ireland, stated, “Mesh devices are regulated medical devices. There is no basis for the introduction of a general redress scheme for women who have suffered mesh complications.” In other words, despite a 2018 investigation by the Irish Department of Health that conclusively proved vaginal mesh can cause  “severe complications” in women, those harmed by mesh are not eligible for financial compensation.

Talcum Powder: Talcum Powder and Asbestos Study Could Change Trial Outcomes

Johnson & Johnson made two legal victories against plaintiffs who claimed their talcum powder was responsible for their cancer. In both cases, Johnson & Johnson expressed their sympathies for victims of cancers but reaffirmed their talcum powder is safe.

A new study, published last week in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, refutes J&J’s assertion. The findings indicated that all cases studied had only been exposed to asbestos through tainted talcum powder, and each one had developed mesothelioma. This is definitive evidence that asbestos exposure through tainted talcum powder puts humans at a high risk of developing mesothelioma.

Breast Implants: Australia and Ireland Take Action to Combat BIA-ALCL

Australia’s Department of Health, through the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), has taken action against 39 breast implant products in the name of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) prevention. Some implants faced greater restrictions of use, while some implants were entirely suspended from use in the country. The TGA noted that these actions are only meant to affect unsold, unimplanted devices [not devices currently implanted] as the risk of explant complications may outweigh the risks of contracting BIA-ALCL in many women.