Johnson and Johnson loses $37 million lawsuit

Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder woes continue as they have just lost a $37 million lawsuit to a couple who sued them.

For the uninitiated, there have been a slew of complaints and lawsuits filed by thousands of customers who developed fatal cancers after using Johnson and Johnson products for years.

At the forefront is the innocuous looking baby talcum powder that has now been proven to cause Mesothelioma, a fatal cancer of the lung.

The latest lawsuit is only one amongst an ever-increasing list of complaints against the Pharmaceutical major. It was filed and successfully won by Stephen Lanzo, a banker from NJ who was detected recently with Mesothelioma.

What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a type of lung cancer that is caused due to continual exposure to asbestos. The symptoms may appear after as many as 30-50 years after being exposed to it.

Thousands of Americans who inhaled asbestos particles as part of their occupation in the early 60s and 70s have been detected with Mesothelioma and have sued their past employers for the condition.

Many have formed support groups to help others who might be ignorant about the actual cause and the possible risks of the condition.

Most of the complaints against Johnson & Johnson cite that the company was aware of the potential risk of inhaling talc particles. But they failed to warn their customers about it risking millions of lives.

Is Baby powder linked to Ovarian cancer?

At another end of this debacle is a piling list of women who have sued the company for failing to warn them about the risk of using their talcum powder for being linked to ovarian cancer.

In fact, in 2017, the company lost another trial and was asked to award $417 million in damages to a terminally ill, 63-year-old woman.

However, whether or not baby powder causes cancer is a widely debated topic among healthcare experts.

The company denies the purported link between the disease and their products vehemently and for good reason.

Baby powder is one of their flagships and most trusted products for decades. If this were to be proven, then they would probably be awarding damages for the rest of their lives.

But that’s not all. Many government healthcare officials also deny any apparent link between the two. Many say that there’s not enough conclusive results to link the two.

Whatever be the case, the fact is that thousands of women have been detected with terminal cancer in the last few years. And there’s one glaring similarity among them all. They’ve all used Johnson and Johnson’s baby powder for decades. Some started when they were less than 10 years old.

Are you using Talcum powder for your babies?

Millions of women might still be using Talcum powder for keeping their genital areas clean and dry. Others use it for sanitary napkin related rash. The usage is not limited to adults alone. Many use it for diaper rash in babies.

If you are one of them, speak to your doctor about the potential risks and about alternative ways to keep the areas clean and dry.

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Bayer’s Controversial Contraceptive Implant Essure under FDA Scanner

If we’d gotten a dime every time a popularly used and widely prescribed drug was recalled for risk of health complications that were unknown earlier, we would be billionaires by now.

At some point, one starts to wonder where the interests of the people promoting these drugs really lie.

The recent one to be pulled up by the FDA is the contraceptive implant called Essure which is marketed by Bayer, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical corporations.

According to recent reports, the FDA now requires women to sign an agreement citing that they are aware of the potential risks of using Essure before they are prescribed.

What is Essure?

Essure is a contraceptive implant that consists of two metal coils that are intertwined. Each coil is inserted into each fallopian tubes via the vagina.

The controversy arises apparently from the methodology by which it prevents the sperms from fertilizing the eggs. Essure scars the tissue in the fallopian tube by constantly irritating it which affects sperm motility. Surprisingly enough, the contraceptive is touted to be almost 90% effective and it is a permanent implant that will keep you safe from an unwanted pregnancy for life.

However, there have been reports of the implant accidentally puncturing the fallopian tubes. At times, even the uterus.

In worse cases, the tubes have reportedly made their way into other organs such as the pelvis and the abdomen triggering a domino effect of pain, allergic reactions and complications.

The number of cases where Essure has caused complications and required emergency surgical intervention have become so severe that the FDA has finally decided to step in and limit sales.

Fetal deaths?

According to other unconfirmed, but independent reports, Essure has also been associated with fetal deaths.

More than 25,000 reports of adverse effects have been reported since Essure first hit the market in 2002.

Of these, almost 17000 have been reported last year.

Why the sudden increase in the number of complaints, one wonders.

According to Bayer, the sudden barrage of negative press in the time of social media is what has led to a decline in sales as well as an increase in complaints.

Well, for now, Bayer has released a new product label for Essure that highlights the potential risks of using the device.

Meanwhile, thousands of women who have used Essure have sued Bayer for millions of dollars in compensation. None of these cases have concluded yet but if recent reports or incidents are to go by (Johnson & Johnson), then all doesn’t seem hunky dory for Bayer in the days to come.

Symptoms of a complication with Essure

If you have had Essure implanted in your body and are wondering whether you might also be eligible for a compensation from Bayer, then here are some of the common symptoms that are being reported by women.

  • Headache
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Continual fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Mood swings

Are you experiencing any of these? Then speak to your healthcare provider about the possibility of these being related to Essure.



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A surgical googles to spot cancer tissue

We thought that we’d seen it all when Google Glass came out a few years ago. But that might just be the tip of the iceberg as far as the tech is concerned.

According to some scientists and researchers from the University of Illinois, they have created, what might be the ultimate medical breakthrough.

A goggles that can spot cancer cells in the human body and initial reports are extremely positive.

The report was first published in the medical journal called Optica and cites how the Goggles draw inspiration from the eyes of the morpho butterfly.

How the Goggles work

This new surgical goggles features an integrated camera that gives surgeons two distinct images of cancerous cells that are highlighted fluorescently. One image is the traditional two dimensional color one whereas the other image is like an infrared image.

We say ‘like’ because it isn’t in infrared image in totality, but is pretty close to it.

The camera helps detect cancerous cells that can sneak in under healthy tissue and allows doctors to destroy it completely without the need for multiple invasive surgeries.

For the uninitiated, the Morpho Butterfly has a highly complex visual system that allows them to gain multispectral visuals at the same time.

The initial tests

While early tests were limited to mice, the later tests were conducted on breast cancer patients.

The patients were injected with a dye that attaches itself to cancerous cells in the body. These cells contain a protein that emits an infrared signal after binding to the cancer cells. While the human eye is unable to pick up these IR signals, the camera picks it up easily leading to the detection of the cancer cells.

So effective is the tech that at times, the surgeons were able to detect signals being emitted from deep under skin tissue or under organs.

The potential applications of the tech are amazing to say the least.

And unlike most new tech which takes years to replicate for mass production, this Goggles can be produced for as less as $20. It weighs less than 23 grams and needs no special lighting in the operation theater to be used.

Most of the IR cameras currently used in medical science cannot function under normal surgical lighting. They require the surgical lights to be dimmed to be able to view the cancer cells.

What the future holds

In all probability, this might replace all the flouroscent markers used currently for surgeries. Due to the small size and the light weight, these cameras may even be attached to an endoscope someday to be used for detecting colon cancer.

The other potential applications include the use for detecting cancerous cells in lymph nodes, neck cancer, head cancer and prostate cancer.

The team of researchers is currently working with the FDA and plan to go mainstream with this amazing new discovery soon.

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