Unsafe Plastic Bottles Pulled from the Market

April 18, 2008

Wal-Mart, Nalgene Pull BPA Bottles from Shelves

Wal-Mart said it would phase out BPA from all the baby bottles it sells, replacing them with different plastics or glass.

“Safety is a top priority for Wal-Mart,” the company said in a statement. “While the FDA has not established any restrictions on the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in baby bottles, for several years now we have offered a variety of BPA-free products for customers who seek this option.

We are working to expand our BPA-free offerings and expect the entire assortment of baby bottles to be BPA-free sometime early next year.”

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California to Review Rescission of Coverage

April 18, 2008

The practice of rescission of coverage just when an insured needs it most has been in the news for quite some time and has been practiced for even longer. It is good to see that California is taking steps to double check the decisions made in this regard. There should be a nationwide policy that each rescission of coverage be reviewed and approved by an elected body.

State to review canceled health insurance policies

Thousands of people whose policies were canceled by California health insurers will have a chance to win back their coverage and be reimbursed for outstanding medical bills, the Schwarzenegger administration announced Thursday.

The state’s action is the boldest yet in dealing with the industry’s increasingly controversial practice of canceling individual coverage — known as rescission — after patients have taken ill and submitted medical bills.

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Look at the Percentage Change in Profit

April 16, 2008

From 1.1% increase in profit to more than 6000% increase!!
Who says health care is in a crisis?

Chicago Business News, Analysis & Articles | | Crain’s

Chicago’s largest hospitals
Address/phone/Web address
Title of person in charge
Network affiliation 2007 Net patient revenue /
% change
2007 net profits/
% change
No. of hospital employees No. of inpatient days No. of beds
Daily occupancy rate
1 Northwestern Memorial Hospital(1)
251 E. Huron St.
Chicago 60611
(312) 926-2000
Dean M. Harrison
President, CEO
Northwestern Memorial HealthCare $1,125.5
5,804 193,198 642
2 University of Chicago Medical Center(2)
5841 S. Maryland Ave.
Chicago 60637
(773) 702-1000
Dr. James L. Madara
University of Chicago Medical Center $1,077.5
6,389 162,357 541
3 Rush University Medical Center(2)
1653 W. Congress Pkwy.
Chicago 60612
(312) 942-5000
Larry J. Goodman
President, CEO
Rush University $842.1
4,988 169,547 676
4 Advocate Christ Medical Center
4440 W. 95th St.
Oak Lawn 60453
(708) 684-8000
Kenneth Lukhard
Advocate Health Care $774.1
4,152 206,316 653
5 Loyola University Medical Center(2)
2160 S. First Ave.
Maywood 60153
(708) 216-9000
Paul K. Whelton
President, CEO
Loyola University Health System $676.4
5,118 125,369 507
6 Advocate Lutheran General Hospital
1775 W. Dempster St.
Park Ridge 60068
(847) 723-2210
Bruce C. Campbell
Advocate Health Care $584.4
3,258 147,181 532
7 Central DuPage Hospital(2)
25 N. Winfield Rd.
Winfield 60190
(630) 933-1600
Luke McGuinness
President, CEO
Independent $496.7
2,198 78,351 321
8 Evanston Hospital(3)
2650 Ridge Ave.
Evanston 60201
(847) 570-2000
Mark R. Neaman
President, CEO
Evanston Northwestern Healthcare $448.5
2,661 84,168 280
9 Edward Hospital(2)
801 S. Washington St.
Naperville 60540
(630) 527-3000
Pamela Meyer Davis
President, CEO
Edward Hospital & Health Services $448.2
3,312 86,419 288
10 Northwest Community Hospital(3)
800 W. Central Road
Arlington Heights 60005
(847) 618-1000
Bruce K. Crowther
President, CEO
Independent $410.8
2,733 93,748 383
11 University of Illinois Medical Center at Chicago
1740 W. Taylor St.
Suite 1400, Chicago 60612
(312) 996-3900
John J. DeNardo
CEO of health care system
University of Illinois at Chicago $406.0
4,136 122,730 343
12 Children’s Memorial Hospital(1)
2300 Children’s Plaza
Box #14, Chicago 60614
(773) 880-4000
Patrick M. Magoon
President, CEO
Children’s Memorial Hospital $380.4
3,900 65,954 247
13 Provena St. Joseph Medical Center
333 N. Madison St.
Joliet 60435
(815) 725-7133
Jeffrey L. Brickman
System senior vice-president, regional CEO
Provena Health $359.8
219,400 99,190 410
14 Alexian Brothers Medical Center
800 Biesterfield Road
Elk Grove Village 60007
(847) 437-5500
John Werrbach
President, CEO
Alexian Brothers Hospital Network $359.0
2,268 101,315 372
15 Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center
836 W. Wellington Ave.
Chicago 60657
(773) 975-1600
Susan Nordstrom Lopez
Advocate Health Care $343.6
2,014 90,410 319
16 John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County(5)
1901 W. Harrison St.
Chicago 60612
(312) 864-6000
Johnny C. Brown
Chief operating officer
Cook County Bureau of Health Services $326.9(6)
3,912 118,358 460
17 Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital
3815 Highland Ave.
Downers Grove 60515
(630) 275-5900
David S. Fox
Advocate Health Care $321.5
1,816 78,349 290
18 St. James Hospital and Health Centers
1423 Chicago Road
Chicago Heights 60411
(708) 756-1000
Seth C.R. Warren
Sisters of St. Francis Health Services Inc. $308.2
2,041 106,757 370
19 Condell Medical Center
801 S. Milwaukee Ave.
Libertyville 60048
(847) 362-2900
Dennis Millirons
President, CEO
Condell Medical Center $303.2
1,800 70,364 257
20 Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center(2)
2233 W. Division St.
Chicago 60622
(312) 770-2000
Margaret McDermott
Executive vice-president, CEO
Resurrection Health Care $299.0
1,753 82,715 320
21 Palos Community Hospital
12251 S. 80th Ave.
Palos Heights 60463
(708) 923-4000
Sister Margaret Wright
Independent $291.5
2,343 92,200 369
22 Elmhurst Memorial Hospital(2)
200 Berteau Ave.
Elmhurst 60126
(630) 833-1400
Leo F. Fronza
President, CEO
Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare $285.9
2,173(8) 57,428 255
23 Adventist Hinsdale Hospital
120 N. Oak St.
Hinsdale 60521
(630) 856-9000
Todd Werner
Adventist Midwest Health $280.8
1,345 57,166 293
24 Resurrection Medical Center(2)
7435 W. Talcott Ave.
Chicago 60631
(773) 774-8000
Sister Donna Marie Wolowicki
Executive vice-president, CEO
Resurrection Health Care $280.7
1,894 74,248 289
25 Sherman Hospital(9)
934 Center St.
Elgin 60120
(847) 742-9800
Richard B. Floyd
President, CEO
Sherman Health $242.4
1,329 52,944 258
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Chemical in Plastic May Harm Human Growth

April 16, 2008

BPA in plastics harmful to children

Chemical in plastic may harm human growth

A federal report finds ‘some concern’ that fetuses, babies and children are at risk from bisphenol A. But plastics industry officials see no serious risk.
By Marla Cone, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
April 16, 2008
A controversial, estrogen-like chemical in plastic could be harming the development of children’s brains and reproductive organs, a federal health agency concluded in a report released Tuesday.

The National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institutes of Health, concluded that there was “some concern” that fetuses, babies and children were in danger because bisphenol A, or BPA, harmed animals at low levels found in nearly all human bodies.

An ingredient of polycarbonate plastic, BPA is one of the most widely used synthetic chemicals in industry today. It can seep from hard plastic beverage containers such as baby bottles, as well as from liners in cans containing food and infant formula.

The federal institute is the first government agency in the U.S. to conclude that low levels of BPA could be harming humans. Its findings will be used to help regulators at federal and state environmental agencies to develop policies governing its use.

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Failure to Rescue

April 11, 2008

Before Code Blue: Who’s minding the patient?

High-profile medical errors such as operating on the wrong body part or receiving a mistaken dose of drugs should take a back seat to a far more common and insidious mistake, a new report reveals.

For the fifth straight year, an analysis of errors in the nation’s hospitals found that the most reported patient safety risk is a little-known but always-fatal problem called “failure to rescue.” The term refers to cases where caregivers fail to notice or respond when a patient is dying of preventable complications in a hospital.

Between 2004 and 2006, failure to rescue claimed more than 188,000 lives, amounting to about 128 deaths for every 1,000 patients at risk of complications, according to the latest report from HealthGrades, a health care ratings organization.

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Pre-Empted by FDA's Public Stance

April 9, 2008

Suicide Warning Suits Pre-Empted; Makers of Paxil, Zoloft Win

In a significant victory for drug manufacturers, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the makers of Paxil and Zoloft cannot be sued for failing to warn of a risk of suicide because the Food & Drug Administration has explicitly refused to order such warnings.

Voting 2-1 in a pair of cases where the lower courts issued conflicting rulings, the 3rd Circuit found that such lawsuits must be pre-empted because they directly conflict with action already taken by the FDA. Writing for the majority, 3rd Circuit Judge Dolores K. Sloviter said the FDA has “actively monitored” the possible risk of suicide from taking the class of antidepressant drugs known as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, for two decades, and concluded that the suicide warnings demanded by plaintiffs “are without scientific basis and would therefore be false and misleading.”

But Sloviter, who was joined by visiting Judge Jane A. Restani of the U.S. Court of International Trade, emphasized that the ruling was a narrow one. “Our holding is limited to circumstances in which the FDA has publicly rejected the need for a warning that plaintiffs argue state law requires,” Sloviter wrote in Colacicco v. Apotex Inc.

In dissent, 3rd Circuit Judge Thomas L. Ambro said he would have allowed both cases to go forward. “The FDA has for over three-quarters of a century viewed state tort law as complementary to its warning regulations. Only for the last two years has it claimed otherwise,” Ambro wrote.

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Allstate Loses the Florida Battle

April 9, 2008

A Ban on Allstate Upheld in Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., April 4 (Reuters) — A Florida appeals court on Friday upheld a state regulator’s order suspending the Allstate Corporation from writing new insurance policies in Florida.

The Florida insurance commissioner, Kevin M. McCarty, said that Allstate had 15 days to appeal and that he was not sure when the suspension would take effect.

Allstate said it was reviewing the ruling, issued by the First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee, but believed it was not yet final. Allstate said it would continue to write new business.

“We are very disappointed in today’s ruling and disagree with the court’s opinion,” Allstate said Friday.

The suspension would mainly affect new auto policies, because Allstate said previously it planned to reduce its homeowner policy exposure in Florida.

Mr. McCarty said of Friday’s decision: “This is good news for the people of Florida. This is good news for all those law-abiding companies doing business in our state.”

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FDA and Drug Maker's Immunity

April 6, 2008

I would understand that argument if the FDA was a trustworthy entity and void of political influence. But as it stands, it appears to me that if you have enough money to hire FDA officials as consultants and/or have enough political clout, anything you make will meet with FDA’s approval. So, I am not that keen in giving drug makers immunity just because they have received FDA’s approval.

Drug Makers Near Old Goal: A Legal Shield

For years, Johnson & Johnson obscured evidence that its popular Ortho Evra birth control patch delivered much more estrogen than standard birth control pills, potentially increasing the risk of blood clots and strokes, according to internal company documents.
But because the Food and Drug Administration approved the patch, the company is arguing in court that it cannot be sued by women who claim that they were injured by the product — even though its old label inaccurately described the amount of estrogen it

This legal argument is called pre-emption. After decades of being dismissed by courts, the tactic now appears to be on the verge of success, lawyers for plaintiffs and drug companies say.

The Bush administration has argued strongly in favor of the doctrine, which holds that the F.D.A. is the only agency with enough expertise to regulate drug makers and that its decisions should not be second-guessed by courts. The Supreme Court is to rule on a case next term that could make pre-emption a legal standard for drug cases. The court already ruled in February that many suits against the makers of medical devices like pacemakers are

More than 3,000 women and their families have sued Johnson & Johnson, asserting that users of the Ortho Evra patch suffered heart attacks, strokes and, in 40 cases, death. From 2002 to 2006, the food and drug agency received reports of at least 50 deaths associated with the drug.

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