GMOs: Good or Bad?

Share Button

GMOs: You Decide.

GMO Corn

(From ‘Monsanto’s Genetically Engineered Sweet Corn a Flop?’ on Ecowatch.com)

Lately, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have had a lot of press and media attention. On April 27th, 2015, the popular food-chain, Chipotle, announced that their products will no longer contain any GMOs. Whole Foods Market, another popular sustenance destination, proudly pronounces on their website that they are fighting to have “GMO transparency” – they want all US and Canadian food stores to have GMO products clearly labeled in the forthcoming years.

On the other hand, a 2013 study by a team of Italian scientists stated that although the GMO debate is still quite intense, “the scientific research conducted so far has not detected any significant hazards directly connected with the use of genetically engineered (GE) crops.” And in January 2015, for the first time ever, the European Union voted to allow countries the choice of planting genetically-modified crops.  It is estimated that the United Kingdom will see its first GMOs by 2017.

Considering the ever-changing policies and concerns of consumers and their food-providers, including the aforementioned companies, is it certain whether these studies have had any clear influence one way or the other? Are GMOs truly bad for our health and/or the health of our environment? Have GMOs been produced long enough to have a tangible idea of their effects on humans and the environment? All of the literature on GMOs can be quite cumbersome and confusing. With an intense and seemingly never-ending divide among the people, there is definitely no shortage of data and opinions.

First and foremost – what are GMOs? According to a review from St. George’s University of London, GMOs or genetically engineered (GE) crops “are those that have been genetically modified using recombinant DNA technology. This may be to express a gene that is not native to the plant or to modify endogenous genes.” Basically, a desired trait from one organism can be altered and/or transferred over to another organism.

There are many reasons that GMOs are desired – they could allow for resistance to common pests or insects, and environmental extremes such as drought, flooding, or dangerous heat. GMOs could allow for a larger, more flavorful, and/or more nutritional organism, or they could even allow for new developments in the fields of medicine and pharmaceuticals.

For example, a vaccine for hepatitis B was made possible by genetically modified yeast cultures. This GM vaccine completely eliminates the possibility of transmitting blood diseases, which was a prime concern of prior vaccines that consisted of potentially harmful human plasma.

The Genetic Science Learning Center produced an article called, “The Evolution of Corn,” where a dramatic picture of corn shows the changes that corn has undergone throughout many, many years:

Evolution Of Corn

Through cross-breeding and genetic engineering, today’s corn now has many advantages over more primitive corn: it has the ability to grow in many different types of climates, it is much larger with many more kernels, and it has a much higher resistance to pests.

But do not be fooled into thinking that plants, tiny unseen beings, and food products are the only organisms that are being genetically modified. Animals, humans, and even some plastic products have gone through genetic mutation as well. Mosquitoes, for example, have been genetically modified to have a protein called SM1, “which blocks entry of the malaria parasite, Plasmodium, into the mosquito’s gut.” Malaria-resistant mosquitos have the enormous potential to prevent the needless deaths of over 1 million people each year – most of whom are children in Africa. Creating a model of GM plant technology production over the current model of “profit-motivated pharmaceutical production” would allow for the developing world to cultivate locally-grown solutions to preventable deaths.

Fertilized eggs have had successful transplants of genetic material that prevents mitochondria from being carried over to other fertilized eggs. This is quite significant because many medical conditions are connected to “disease-causing mitochondrial mutation(s),” such as diabetes, neuropathy, vision loss, ataxia, and Leigh Syndrome. The possibility of eliminating or reducing these ailments is literally life-altering.

The Independent wisely states that “money doesn’t grow on trees. But credit cards, or at least their raw material, might grow in fields, thanks to genetically modified (GM) plants that can produce biodegradable plastic.” It is very true that plants have been modified to naturally produce plastic that is biodegradable. This would reduce or possibly eliminate the need to produce plastics using crude oil, which generates considerable damage. Any measurable decrease in the use of oil has a positive effect on the health of humans and the environment. A 2010 study states that, “People living on oil-rich sites around the world are subjected to contamination of drinking water, top soil, and livestock due to toxic pollution that can result from the oil extraction process. In some contaminated sites, serious illnesses resulting from exposure have been documented. Before the introduction of petrochemical industries, environments around the world that sat upon large oil reserves supported healthy human life and vibrant ecosystems. Oil contamination from drilling processes, however, has adversely affected the people living in these areas by polluting the environment around them. The water, soil, and air have been severely tainted by petroleum pollutants. As a result, wildlife, livestock, and humans have been sickened.”

So why is there so much hatred toward GMOs – especially in popular media?

As the famed chemist, Leslie Orgel, once stated, “Evolution is cleverer than you are.” Although fictitious, this school of thought brings up recollections of the Jurassic Park films. Miniscule amounts of dinosaur DNA were extracted from blood in a fossilized mosquito. This DNA was used to create dinosaurs in the modern world. The results? Disastrous. As we all know, dinosaurs outmaneuvered and outsmarted the humans, as they eventually took over Jurassic Park. In the fourth installment of the Jurassic Park film series, Jurassic World, set to release in June 2015, humans will most likely be outplayed (once again) by their own ingenuity – who would have thought that this was possible? In order to boost park-attendance, geneticists create the GMO, Indominus rex, which is created from the DNA of Carnotaurus, Giganotosaurus, Majungasaurus, and Rugops. Lead actor, Chris Pratt, soon learns that the meaning behind the creature’s name, the fierce or untamable king, is most likely a precursor for the park’s eventual demise. See the official trailer here.

In a less fictitious, yet just as engrossing, example of the effects of genetic engineering, we look to a study done on pigs. In this study, pigs were fed either a GM soy and GM corn diet or an equivalent non-GM diet over 22.7 weeks. The results found that “Pigs fed a GMO diet exhibited heavier uteri and a higher rate of severe stomach inflammation than pigs fed a comparable non-GMO diet.” Because humans have a very similar gastrointestinal tract to pigs, this is highly concerning. Stomach inflammation can often cause nausea, bloating, abdominal pain, vomiting, indigestion, etc. The study also points out that proponents of GMOs often conduct similar studies; however, there is one main difference: those studies were not conducted on mammals, but most often conducted on non-mammals (such as birds and fish). As mammals clearly have a much closer DNA-sequence to humans than non-mammals, this presents an understandable argument for opponents.

The following figure shows “different levels of stomach inflammation found (clockwise from top left): nil (from a non-GM-fed pig, number B41), mild (from a non-GM-fed pig, number B15), moderate (from a GM-fed pig, number C34), and severe (from a GM-fed pig, number D22).”

GMO Pig Stomachs

(From ‘A Long-Term Toxicology Study on Pigs fed a Combined Genetically Modified (GM) Soy and GM Maize Diet’)

Have you noticed an increase in gluten-free products and gluten-sensitivity claims lately? There might be a reason for such change. Tom O’Bryan, an expert on gluten and the related ailment, Celiac Disease, says that, “The introduction of GMOs is highly suspect as a candidate to explain the rapid rise in gluten-related disorders over the last 17 years.” The Institute for Responsible Technology released a study that focuses on the Bt-toxin, which is produced by GM corn. The toxin “kills insects by punching holes in their digestive tracts, and a 2012 study confirmed that it punctures holes in human cells as well.” Having a porous intestinal tract is extremely common in those with gluten sensitivities and disorders. Coincidence?

In a 2012 study published by The Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology, scientists looked at two groups of rats – those that were fed NK603 corn, developed by a biotech company, and those that were fed non-GM corn. NK603 was developed to resist certain herbicides. However, when consumed by the rats, it was reported that they “developed higher levels of cancer, had larger cancerous tumors, and died earlier than controls.” It is important to note that the study has since been retracted from the publisher’s journal – but not without outcry from proponents. Hundreds of scientists have reportedly condemned the retraction, basically calling it a government conspiracy to hide evidence of GMO volatility.

Weed resistance and environmental factors are also lead concerns for GMO opponents. A 2013 study found that “weed resistance to glyphosate has become an issue, affecting some farmers using GM glyphosate-tolerant crops.” Glyphosate is commonly marketed under the trade names Roundup, Rodeo, and Pondmaster. Farmers are now being told to include a variety of herbicides when attempting to manage crop weeds. Could this increase in the use of herbicides, only to combat the possibility of some resistance, lead to other environmental and human risks? This seems quite counter-intuitive to the original idea that GMOs should reduce the amount of crops that are vulnerable to weeds and other pests, thus allowing for a lowered use of herbicides. A 2012 study found that, “The annual increase in the herbicides required to deal with tougher-to-control weeds on cropland planted to GE cultivars has grown from 1.5 million pounds in 1999 to about 90 million pounds in 2011.” That’s a gargantuan increase of about 5,900%.

In a related case, farmers across America are filing lawsuits against Syngenta, the creator of Agrisure Viptera MIR162 corn. This GM corn was touted as having a resistance to certain insects. Although the corn was approved by the United States in 2010, in June of 2013, China absolutely refused to accept American corn due to Viptera contamination. Corn prices then fell from almost “$7/bushel to a little under $3.30/bushel in October of 2014.” Basically, farmers across America had a large surplus of corn, which lead to a fierce decrease in corn prices. “The USDA had predicted that China would import 7 million metric tons of corn in 2013, but as a result of the rejection of shipments due to Viptera contamination, the US only exported 1.23 million metric tons to China.” As a result, anyone who planted any type of corn in 2013 and/or 2014 has the potential to recover compensation for damage to overall corn prices.

All in all, the Grocery Manufacturers Association estimates that GMOs are found in about 70-80% of the foods that Americans eat. Whether proponents or opponents of these modifications have the superior argument, it is safe to say that GMOs affect us all in some way or another. Whether it is a positive or negative effect, we will likely find constant arguments, opinions, studies, and literature for both sides.

3 Major Companies File Additional Corn Lawsuits

Share Button

China has a “zero tolerance policy” when it comes to unapproved biotech-enhanced traits in grain. In November 2013, China rejected the first shipment of grain from the United States due to contamination with Agrisure Viptera, a genetically modified seed that had not been approved by Beijing. The Viptera seed, engineered by the Swiss-based company Syngenta, was not approved by China until December 2014.

With unceasing rejections from China, U.S. corn shipments were down 85% in the first seven months of 2014 according to The Wall Street Journal. In an April 2014 report, the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) estimated that rejected shipments had directly cost grain companies $427 million. They went on to report that the total loss to U.S. Agriculture, including the impact on prices and other factors, could exceed $2 billion.

Major Companies Have Already Started Seeking Damages

Cargill Image

The premature sale of Agrisure Viptera could be costly to companies other than its manufacturer, Syngenta. Cargill, Trans Coastal Supply Company, and Archer Daniels Midland Company are among numerous parties filing corn lawsuits prompted by the rejection of tainted corn.

In late November 2013, Cargill was forced to reroute at least five ships containing tens of thousands of tons of corn. The corn, which had been rejected by China, was sent to Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Egypt. The multinational corporation has reported more than a $90 million loss due to China’s rejection of its crop and Cargill’s subsequent push to sell the bioengineered corn.

Trans Coastal Supply Company was the second company to sue Syngenta over the sale of the genetically modified corn seed. This major exporter of livestock feed products said their losses were related to exports of an ethanol byproduct called distillers dried grains (DDGs). China is the world’s largest buyer of DDGs and the rejection is said to have set Trans Costal Supply Company back roughly $41 million.

Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM), the world’s largest corn processor, is also getting involved in the corn lawsuit. A spokeswoman for ADM did not provide an exact dollar amount, but stated there were “tens of millions of dollars in losses and added costs.”

Corn Farmers Get Involved

The lawsuit for sales of genetically modified corn has expanded to U.S. farmers. Thus far, there have been farmers in 11 states that have filed corn lawsuits against Syngenta in federal court seeking damages for an alleged hit to corn prices. Experts have estimated damage compensation to be between $0.11 and a $1 a bushel for corn grown in 2013 and/or 2014. It does not matter if the farmer had planted the Viptera seed, as the corn lawsuit is focused on overall damages to corn prices.

How Do I Get Involved?

If you or someone you know was negatively impacted by Syngenta’s seed, contact an attorney at Hensley Legal Group for a free consultation. If you have questions about a Syngenta Corn Lawsuit our attorneys can help you understand your options. Call our office any time at 1-888-505-8232 or reach us via the web. Fill out the ‘Get Help Now’ form and someone from our office will contact you as soon as possible to discuss your claim.

How to get and read your Indiana Car Accident Report

Share Button

Being involved in an Indiana car accident can be overwhelming. You may not know what to do after the accident to make sure things are taken care of. Securing a copy of the police accident report is one of the most important things you can do after the crash. In this post we’ll tell you how to obtain and interpret your police accident report.

Getting a copy of the accident reportSample Indiana Car Accident Report

To get a copy of your police accident report you’ll need to go to the local police station where the accident occurred or online to www.buycrash.com. At Buycrash.com, select the state where your accident occurred and click search. From here you have two options. If you have the police accident report number, you can enter it and click next. If you don’t have the accident report number, you can fill in your personal information instead. Finally, you’ll have to purchase your report by adding it to your shopping cart. The cost of your accident report should be $12, and the website will accept debit or credit card. After you purchase the report, you can download and print it.

What to look for in your Indiana Car Accident Report

Now that you have your Indiana accident report, you need to know what is most important. (Click here to see a sample report.)  First, determine what driver number has been assigned to you. This information is located on the first page of the report, in the top section under the crash location. Typically the at-fault driver is listed as driver #1, but that is not always the case.

While there is a lot of important information on the first page of the report, the most critical details are located in the “Driver Contributing Circumstances” boxes, which are located on the left hand side in the middle. Compare your driver number to the Driver Contributing Circumstances boxes to see if you are listed as having contributed to the collision. If your boxes are checked “None,” this means you were not at fault for the accident according to the report.

After you’ve determined who was at fault for the crash, it may also be helpful to read the narrative on the second page of the accident report. This is the police officer’s summary of what happened. You should look at this carefully and make sure that it is consistent with what actually happened. Reports often include a diagram to explain the narrative. The diagram is always the last page of the report and can be very helpful to refer to when reading the officer’s narrative.

Now that you’ve read the narrative and inspected the diagram of the crash, you may want to return to the first page to review the police officer’s estimate of the damage. You’ll find this under the Driver Contributing Circumstances boxes. The estimate is simply a ballpark figure, but it’s a good number to have in mind.

Each driver in the crash will get his or her own “Unit Information” page. Here you can find insurance information for the other driver. You can also determine if the other driver was wearing a seat belt by looking at the top right hand corner under “Safety Equipment Used.”

Are Indiana Car Accident Reports Final?

It is critical that you understand that police reports can be changed. If you look at your report and notice that the narrative, diagram, or some other piece of information is incorrect, you should notify the police department. Call and ask to speak to the officer (whose name is on page 2). You should explain the errors and try to get the information changed.

Call us for help with your Indiana Car Accident

There is a great deal more information listed on the police report than what is detailed here, but now you should have a good idea of what is most important. Never assume that the insurance company will give you a fair deal just because the accident report says you were not at fault for the accident. Sometimes you need an Indiana car accident attorney to help you make sure the insurance company isn’t giving you the run around. Our office has handled Indiana car accident cases since 1998 and has the experience you need to get what you deserve. We never charge for a consultation and we work on a contingency fee basis, which means we don’t get paid unless you get a settlement. Call us anytime at 1-888-505-8232 or reach us via the web and fill out the “Get Help Now” form. Someone from our office will get back with you right away.

 

Syngenta Corn Lawsuit Resembles Recent Rice Lawsuits

Share Button

herbicide-587589_1280

Rice Farming in the U.S.

Americans have been farming rice since the late 17th century. Seven states-Arkansas, California, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Florida-contribute the most to rice production, making the U.S. one of the world’s largest rice exporters. Roughly 3 million acres of rice fields are farmed annually in the United States.

The rice cycle is no easy task to conquer. In early spring, rice farmers are itching to plant their seeds into seedbeds for sprouting and early growth. After the initial planting, the fields are flooded as farmers begin the process of transplanting and growing. Between the time it takes to prep the fields, combined with the time spent growing the crop, rice farmers have already invested months in their fields. But they aren’t done yet. Harvesting is the next step in the rice cycle; it alone is a headache. Cutting the plants, moving the crop to another location, threshing, cleaning, and storage are all tasks the rice farmer must master in order to have a successful harvest.

A rice farmer’s livelihood relies on the successful mass production of this valuable cash crop. GMOs (or “genetically modified organisms”) help farmers achieve better harvests. GMOs can be engineered to develop resistance to insects or to enhance the growth and nutritional value of a crop.  USA Today has a great article explaining “What you need to know about GMOs.

GMOs & Contaminated Rice

All GMOs are regulated by The Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency. The FDA regulates genetically modified foods just as it does all others, by ensuring the food is safe to eat. For that reason, the U.S. government’s stamp of approval on a genetically modified food is vitally important to a crop’s export value.

Unfortunately, obstacles can arise on account of unapproved GMOs. Unapproved strains of genetically modified crops have crept into the food supply on more than one occasion, wreaking havoc on the value of the crop.  According to Bloomberg Business, in August 2006, trace amounts of Bayer AG’s experimental LibertyLink strain were found to have cross-bred and contaminated 30 percent of U.S. ricelands. Boatloads of rice tainted by this unapproved strain were rejected by China, causing significant damage to the U.S. rice value. Within four days of discovering the contamination, declining rice futures cost U.S. growers roughly $150 million.

Rice Lawsuit Settlement

After years of litigation, Bayer AG ultimately settled with rice farmers in July 2011 for $750 million. The settlement held Bayer AG accountable for the contamination and compensated 11,000 U.S. rice farmers up to $310 per acre.

The LibertyLink settlement encompassed the growing seasons of 2006 through 2010. Bloomberg Business further explains how the compensation would be dispersed. “A grower who participated in all five seasons would receive $120 per acre for 2006, $80 per acre for 2007, $60 per acre for 2008, $40 for 2009 and $10 for 2010 for a maximum of $310 per acre.” Furthermore, “Two other compensation pools have been created under the pact: one for farmers who planted two contaminated varieties and another for growers who didn’t plant tainted strains yet suffered damages beyond market loss.”

Syngenta Corn Lawsuits similar to Rice Lawsuits

Much like the rice contamination lawsuits, corn farmers across the country are filing suit in state and federal courts against Syngenta, a global Swiss agribusiness that markets seeds and agrochemicals. In 2010 Syngenta released a genetically-modified corn seed known as Agrisure Viptera MIR162. The seed turned up in shipments to China, who had yet to approve the genetically-modified strain. As a result, China shut down all U.S. corn imports, causing corn prices in the U.S. to fall dramatically. Anyone who planted corn in 2013 and/or 2014 is potentially eligible to recover damages lost to falling corn prices. You can find more information about the ongoing Syngenta corn lawsuit here.

If you or someone you know was negatively impacted by Syngenta’s seed, contact an attorney at Hensley Legal Group today for a free consultation. If you have questions about a Syngenta Corn Lawsuit our attorneys can help you understand your options. Call our office any time at 1-888-505-8232, or reach us via the web. Fill out the ‘Get Help Now’ form and someone from our office will contact you as soon as possible to discuss your claim.

Hensley Legal Group, PC Named to 2015 Top Workplaces

Share Button

We are excited to announce that Hensley Legal Group, PC was named as one of the 2015 Top Workplaces by the Star Media.Top Workplaces 2015

The Top Workplaces are determined based solely on employee feedback. The employee survey is conducted by WorkplaceDynamics, LLP, a leading research firm on organizational health and employee engagement. WorkplaceDynamics conducts regional Top Workplaces programs with 40 major publishing partners across the United States.  Over the past year, more than 5,000 organizations and 1 in every 88 employees in the U.S. have turned to WorkplaceDynamics to better understand what’s on the minds of their employees.

We can’t thank our employees enough for this great honor.  We wouldn’t be where we are without them.  It is our great group of employees that truly makes this a Top Workplace.  Here are some of the employee comments from the surveys:

“I am part of a team and group that helped build what we have today. We do important work for many people who would not have a voice without us.”

“I love my job because of the people that I work with. They have become my closest friends and family. ”

“It feels like I became part of a close family. The HLG people are all very friendly and helpful.”

“What I do and the people I do it with.”

“The opportunities that I have been provided both financially and intellectually have and continue to be amazing.”

Megabus Crashes Injuring Nineteen

Share Button

Megabus Crashes Again in Indiana

April 13, 2015 – Nineteen people were taken to five different hospitals after a Megabus collided with the tail end of a Semi-truck. The Megabus was in route to Atlanta, GA after leaving Chicago, IL early Monday morning.

The Chicago Tribune reported the crash occurred around 5:30 a.m. in the southbound lanes of Interstate 65 near the Edinburgh exits. The Megabus crashed into the back of a semi-truck, forcing the large truck into two passenger vehicles.Charter Bus

According to WTHR – “The Indiana State Police said southbound traffic had come to a stop due to construction vehicles in the area, and a state trooper with emergency lights on was assisting as the construction vehicles moved from the right lane to the median. The driver of the Megabus failed to stop for slowed traffic.”

Megabus has been involved in four different accidents in Indiana since October 2014. Of the four accidents, there have been roughly 65 injuries requiring hospital visits. None of the injuries incurred from the incidents have been reported as life threatening, but there have been multiple accounts of broken bones, contusions and cuts from broken glass among other injuries. More than half of the Megabus accidents have occurred south of Indianapolis on Interstate 65.

Megabus Crashes

October 14, 2014 – Greenwood, Indiana

December 20, 2014 – Seymour, Indiana

December 30, 2014 – Hammond, Indiana

April 13, 2015 – Indianapolis, Indiana

If you or someone you know has been injured in a Megabus or other bus accident, please contact an attorney who can help get the compensation you deserve. The attorneys at Hensley Legal Group have the experience needed to handle complex bus accidents. Contact us anytime at 1-888-436-7539 for a free consultation. Or contact our office via the web. Fill out the ‘Get Help Now’ box and someone from our office will contact you as soon as possible to discuss your situation. Don’t try and navigate your Megabus accident alone. Let a professional from Hensley Legal Group help you today. Whether it’s the Hensley Legal Group or another accident professional, please contact an attorney to find out your rights.

Listeria Concerns Prompt Recalls

Share Button

Sabra Hummus and Blue Bell Ice Cream Recall Products over Listeria Concern

April 8, 2015 – According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Sabra Dipping Company released a recall of roughly 30,000 cases of its Classic Humus due to possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. Below are the products in question:

List of Recalled Sabra Products

Sabra reports that the potential contamination was discovered during a routine, random sample that was taken by the Michigan Department of Agriculture that tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes.

Along with the Sabra Hummus recall, Blue Bell has expanded their ice cream recall due to similar listeria concerns.

The most recent recalled Blue Bell products have been distributed to retail stores, food service accounts, convenience stores and supermarkets across the country affecting nearly half the United States. States include are: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Wyoming. Recalled products are as follows:

Blue Bell Recalled Products

The Broken Arrow, Oklahoma Blue Bell facility is the prime culprit producing an abundance of recalled products with Listeria concerns. CNN reports this is the fourth time Blue Bell has taken action in light of a listeria outbreak at a Kansas hospital that served the company’s ice cream. Blue Bell had suspended operations at the Oklahoma facility voluntarily.

Signs and Symptoms of Listeria Monocytogenes Exposure

According to the Mayo Clinic, Listeria monocytogenes is a strain of bacteria that can cause acute bacterial meningitis. Listeria food poisoning symptoms include: high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. If you are experiencing these problems it is best to consult a physician.

Consumers who have purchased either product are urged to dispose of the product immediately or contact the place of purchases for a full refund. For more information in regards to the Sabra Hummus recall you may visit their website. Blue Bell has set up a page with product pictures and contact information for consumer questions and concerns. There are no ties between the two companies and their outbreaks.

Related: Kraft Recall

Study Finds Link Between Benicar and Sprue-Like Enteropathy

Share Button

Sprue-like Enteropathy: Benicar linked to severe physical reaction in patients

An article published in the Internal Medicine Journal highlights the possibility of sprue-like enteropathy caused by the popular hypertension drug Benicar. The FDA notes Medical Symbolthat sprue- like enteropathy is characterized by symptoms such as, “severe, chronic diarrhea with substantial weight loss.” The journal reports that this seems to be a rarely reported side-effect, but follows the case of a 75 year old woman who suffered from sprue-like enteropathy as a result of taking Benicar.

In summary, the woman has been experiencing chronic diarrhea and significant weight loss for some time. She had begun taking Benicar 6 months prior to her onset of symptoms. While attempting to diagnose the cause of her symptoms doctors noticed nothing significant after taking several tests. However, after doing a biopsy of her duodenum they discovered severe villous atrophy. This is a wasting of the micro-villae which are inside the small intestine, and is often a symptom of celiac disease. However, the patient had conformed to a strict gluten-free diet for some time.

Eventually doctors considered a relationship between the symptoms and Benicar. After the woman stopped taking the drug and began a normal diet her bowel action became normal after 1 month and her weight was restored within 3. This particular instance is cited by the Journal as evidence that, “in the patient with unexplained diarrhea and weight loss after commencement of olmesartan [Benicar], the rare possibility of drug-mediated sprue-like enteropathy should be considered.”

What does all this mean for the average consumer? First, it means that prescription medications can have severe negative side effects. Second, it means that if you or someone you know is taking Benicar they should be aware of these dangerous side effects. You are your own best advocate, and should ask your doctor about a connection with Benicar if you are experiencing diarrhea and weight loss.

Benicar Manufacturer Daiichi pays $39 million due to kickbacks

Share Button

Daiichi Paid Doctors to Prescribe Benicar

Money in an envelopeMost Americans assume that their doctor prescribes them a drug based on how effective it will be, and not because there is a financial incentive for them to do so. However, it seems that this may not always be the case. The FBI reported in January that Daiichi Sankyo, Inc., a global pharmaceutical company headquartered in New Jersey had agreed to pay the US and state Medicaid programs, “$39 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by using lavish meals and speaker program honoraria as kickback vehicles to induce physicians to prescribe the drugs Azor, Benicar, Tribenzor, and Welchol.” To put it another way, Daiichi Sankyo was bribing doctors in order to get them to prescribe their drugs.
The FBI notes that these bribes go as far back as 2004, and took the form of, “honoraria payments, meals, and other remuneration to physicians who participated or supposedly participated” in speaking events. What is particularly disturbing is that it seems that Daiichi paid physicians for these speaking engagements even if, among other things, the physician spoke only to his or her own staff in their own office. Physicians also received payment even if they did not even speak at the engagement because it was cancelled prior to the event.

The Inspector General for the US Department of Health and Human Services was particularly troubled by this series of events. IG Daniel R. Levinson said, “Manufacturers and physicians who engage in [these types of schemes] are cheating Medicare and Medicaid out of millions of dollars and threatening programs upon which many elderly and disabled Americans rely.” Presumably physicians could have prescribed patients an alternative drug that would have been more affordable and equally as effective, but instead prescribed Daiichi’s drugs as a favor for the kickbacks.

Consumers should be aware that these types of schemes take place, and should always be prepared to questions their doctors about prescriptions. The Defense Criminal Investigative Service, a branch of the Federal Government designed to protect consumers from this type of fraud, assures wary citizens saying, “DCIS will continue to aggressively pursue allegations of fraud and corruption harmful to US taxpayers and to the Department.”

As an update to the information in the FBI report, it seems that Indiana has directly been affected by the settlement. Howey Politics Indiana reports, “The Indiana Medicaid program will be repaid more than $126,000 by pharmaceutical company Daiichi Sankyo Inc. as a settlement…”

It can be difficult to accept that doctors, whose mission it is to heal people, could be a part of these money making schemes. Unfortunately it does occur. In order to protect yourself, don’t ever be afraid to get a second opinion, and always do your own research regarding your health. In the event that you or a loved one was injured after using Benicar please contact an attorney at Hensley Legal Group. Our attorneys have the experience you deserve, and are here for you to help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us anytime at 1-888-505-8232 to speak with someone about your case. You can also contact us via the web. Fill out the ‘Get Help Now’ box and someone from our office will contact you as soon as possible to discuss your options.

Truck and Train Accidents Highlight the Dangers of Rail Crossings

Share Button

Two recent truck and train accidents in the US have caused many injuries and left many with questions. Most recently, there was a truck driver in North Carolina who failed to, “maneuver an oversized rig through a railroad crossing derailed an Amtrak train and injured 55 people.” Investigators are still unclear as to why the driver was having so much difficulty with the turn, but they have uncovered some questionable details about the driver.

Railway CrossingIt seems that John Devin Black, the driver of the semi, had been previously cited for at least 12 traffic violations. These violations included speeding, and driving with a revoked license. The Associated Press also confirmed that Black, “served prison time in 1997 after being convicted of felony child abuse in North Carolina, and his other criminal convictions included assaulting a woman, violating a domestic violence protective order, and repeatedly writing worthless checks.” However, Yahoo News notes that there are no rules that, “disqualifies a driver with a criminal record from getting a commercial license, as long as the crime wasn’t committed while driving a truck.”

Currently there are no charges against John Black, but there is still a pending investigation.

Not long before the accident in North Carolina another truck and train accident occurred in California that injured at least twenty eight people. This wreck occurred because a truck took a wrong turn and stopped on the railroad tracks. The driver of the truck, 54 year old Jason Benites, was found about 1.5 miles away from the crash. USA Today reports that Ramirez abandoned the truck, and, “was in apparent distress.”

Investigators are still trying to determine why Ramirez abandoned the truck, but, “the truck was not stuck or bottomed-out as had earlier been reported by officials.” After the collision, the truck exploded into a fury of flames, and three of the train cars toppled over. “Twenty-eight people were transported to area hospitals with injuries that ranged from significant head trauma to back and neck injuries,” according to USA Today. Eight of those were admitted to the hospital and four were in critical condition.

These two recent collisions involving trucks and trains highlight the dangers of train crossings. It’s important to remember that it is never safe to stop on train tracks whether you are in a semi or a passenger vehicle. It’s also important to never try and circumvent safety rails at train tracks –even if you don’t hear or see a train coming.

If you or someone you know is injured due to the negligence of a truck driver, please contact an attorney who can help you get the compensation you deserve. The attorneys at Hensley Legal Group have the experience needed to handle complex semi-truck accidents. Contact us anytime at 1-888-436-7539 for a free consultation. Or contact us via the web. Fill out the ‘Get Help Now’ box and someone from our office will contact you as soon as possible to discuss your situation. Don’t try and navigate your truck accident alone. Let a professional from Hensley Legal Group help you today.