People Who Buy Used Cars Are Responsible For Asking About Hidden Safety Recalls

The New York Times (1/30, Tabuchi, Subscription Publication, 9.97M) reported, after several high-profile deaths of used cars involving airbag recalls, Federal laws “do not require used-car dealers to repair vehicles with safety defects before putting the cars back into public use. Nor are dealers required by law to disclose to customers that a vehicle is the subject of a recall.” Legislation to change this loophole has stalled in Congress leaving consumers on their own to check if a used vehicle has been recalled for a safety defect by either running a car’s VIN number through the Federal safety database, checking an automobile manufacturer’s website, or by purchasing a vehicle history report from a vendor such as Carfax. NHTSA will continue to push for Congress to “prohibit used-car dealerships from selling vehicles with an open recall and the rental of vehicles with an open recall.”

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FDA Warns Apotex Regarding Indian Drug Manufacturing Facility

According to The Wall Street Journal (2/4, Silverman, 5.67M) the US Food and Drug Administration sent a warning letter to Apotex, for violations in its manufacturing of generic medications at a facility in Bangalore, India. The FDA has sent several similar letters to Apotex in the past.

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OSHA To Fine Ashley Furniture $1.7 Million For Safety Violations

According to The New York Times (2/3, Abrams, Subscription Publication, 9.97M) Ashley Furniture, a major global furniture maker, is facing $1.7 million in OSHA penalties “to settle charges that unsafe conditions at its manufacturing plant in Arcadia, Wis., led to more than 1,000 injuries.” OSHA “cited the company for dozens of violations, including disregard for safety standards that led to a number of gruesome injuries.”

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The Deadline For Filing Claims Regarding GM Faulty Ignition Switches Passed On March 31, 2015

The AP (2/3, Krisher) is reporting that “the families of 51 people who died in crashes caused by faulty” GM ignition switches will receive money from the GM compensation fund, with another 77 to receive money for injuries, according to compensation expert Kenneth Feinberg. The deadline for filing claims was Saturday, March 31, 2015. As of Sunday there were “455 death claims and 3,447 for injuries.” Many are calling for GM to extend the deadline, “because victims do not know yet whether they can sue General Motors Co., the new company that emerged from bankruptcy protection in July 2009.”
According to The CBS Evening News (2/2, story 5, 2:30, Glor, 5.08M) Sens. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) are asking GM to reconsider the deadline, “as over a third of the vehicles are still not fixed.”
USA Today (2/2, Healey, 10.32M) reported that GM’s count of victims “only included people in the front seats who would have been protected, presumably,” if not for the defective switches, and only those driving or riding in models that were specifically recalled.

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The FDA’s Adverse Reporting System Includes Numerous Incomplete Reports

The New York Times (2/3, B3, Thomas, Subscription Publication, 9.97M) is reporting that “the main system for keeping track of the dangerous side effects of prescription drugs is deeply flawed, primarily because drug makers are submitting incomplete information about the problems to the” FDA, “according to a new study by” the Institute for Safe Medicine Practices (ISMP), “a nonprofit group that tracks drug safety issues.” An FDA spokesman “acknowledged that adverse-event reports were often incomplete, and said improving the system was ‘of great interest’ to the agency.” But, “doing so ‘is challenging because of the voluntary nature of the reporting.’”
Similarly, The Wall Street Journal (2/2, Silverman, 5.67M) “Pharmalot” blog reports that although the ISMP says reports can only be considered reasonably complete when they include patient age, gender and event date, only 49% of reports contained that information. Additionally, the analysis found that 67% of death reports were of limited value due to incomplete information about the cause of death and the possible role of a medicine. Thomas Moore, an ISMP senior scientist, attributes the lack of completeness in reporting in part to the fact that the FDA’s adverse-alert system has not been updated since 2001 despite the fact that the pharmaceutical market has evolved immensely, yielding new interactions between drugmakers, patient, and consumers.

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GM Resists Effort To Extend Deadline For Ignition Compensation Claims

The Wall Street Journal (1/29, Bennett, Subscription Publication, 5.67M) is reporting that General Motors has rejected a request from Sens. Edward Markey (D) and Richard Blumenthal (D) to extend the claims deadline for their ignition switch compensation fund. In response GM said, “Our goal is to be just and timely in compensating the families who lost loved ones and those who suffered physical injury. We have conducted extensive outreach about the program. We previously extended the deadline until January 31, and we do not plan another extension.”

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Another Example of VA Neglect

The Los Angeles Times (1/28, Holland, 3.49M) is reporting that the U.S. government “has agreed to settle a lawsuit accusing the Department of Veterans Affairs of misusing its sprawling West Los Angeles health campus while veterans with brain injuries and mental impairment slept in the streets, people familiar with the agreement said Tuesday.” The settlement will require the VA “will develop a master land-use plan for the campus that identifies sites for housing homeless veterans.” The ACLU of Southern California brought the lawsuit contending “that the VA should develop housing for veterans on the 387-acre campus.” The ACLU of Southern California “accused the agency of illegally leasing land to UCLA for its baseball stadium, a television studio for set storage, a hotel laundry and a parking service.” In 2013 a Federal Judge “struck down the leases, saying they were ‘totally divorced from the provision of healthcare.’” More recently, US District Judge S. James Otero “halted construction of an amphitheater on the property.”

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According to GM There Are Nearly 900,000 Defective Ignition Switches Still On The Road

Auto World News (1/26, 1K) is reporting that GM filed documentation with the NHTSA last week that shows “almost 900,000 GM vehicles with potentially defective ignition switches are still being used.” General Motors “says that out of a recall of approximately 2,190,934 vehicles, just 1,229,529 vehicles have been repaired by dealers.” Furthermore Auto World News reports that “The total number of ‘unreachable’ vehicles is up to 80,122, according to the Detroit automaker.”

Source:    Auto World News

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Senator Charles Grassley: Nonprofit Hospitals Who Sue Poor Patients Over Unpaid Bills Could Be Breaking The Law

Fox News (1/25, 8.25M) reports that “Sen. Charles Grassley [R-IA] is calling out nonprofit hospitals who are suing poor patients over unpaid bills and says they could be breaking the law, according to a report by ProPublica and NPR.” Senator Grassley “sent a letter, dated January 16, 2015, to Heartland Regional Medical Center, a nonprofit hospital in St. Joseph, Mo., that has garnished the wages of low-income patients who were unable to pay their medical bills.” Sen. Grassley, “citing the ProPublica (1/26, 7K) and NPR (1/22, 1.58M) report…said the hospital, which recently changed its name to Mosaic Life Care, had stretched the law to the breaking point,” writing that the hospital, “may not be meeting the requirements to be a nonprofit, tax-exempt hospital.”

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Wal-Mart Settles With Family Of Comedian Killed In New Jersey Truck Wreck

The AP (1/22, Porter) is reporting that the family of James McNair, the comedian who was killed in a New Jersey Turnpike crash last summer that seriously injured Tracy Morgan, has “settled a wrongful-death claim with Wal-Mart.” According to the story, the “out-of-court settlement” is the “first stemming from the June 7 crash, in which a Wal-Mart truck slammed into a limo van” carrying Morgan and McNair. The AP notes that a preliminary investigation by the NTSB estimated that the truck driver, Kevin Roper, was “driving 65 mph in the 60 seconds before he slammed into the limo van.” The speed limit on that section of the highway is 55 mph and was lowered to 45 mph on the day of the accident due to construction. ABC News (1/22, Katersky, 3.41M) reports that the amount of the settlement is confidential.

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