Showing posts with label health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label health. Show all posts

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Australian Medical Association formally declares climate change a health emergency


The Guardian, 3 September 2018: 

The Australian Medical Association has formally declared climate change a health emergency, pointing to “clear scientific evidence indicating severe impacts for our patients and communities now and into the future”. 

The AMA’s landmark shift, delivered by a motion of the body’s federal council, brings the organisation into line with forward-leaning positions taken by the American Medical Association, the British Medical Association and Doctors for the Environment Australia. 

The American Medical Association and the American College of Physicians recognised climate change as a health emergency in June 2019, and the British Medical Association the following month declared a climate emergency and committed to campaign for carbon neutrality by 2030. 

The World Health Organisation has recognised since 2015 that climate change is the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century, and argued the scientific evidence for that assessment is “overwhelming”. 

The AMA has recognised the health risks of climate change since 2004. Having now formally recognised that climate change is a health emergency, the peak organisation representing doctors in Australia is calling on the Morrison government to promote an active transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy; adopt mitigation targets within an Australian carbon budget; promote the health benefits of addressing climate change; and develop a national strategy for health and climate change. 

The AMA president, Tony Bartone, argues the scientific evidence is clear. “There is no doubt that climate change is a health emergency. The AMA accepts the scientific evidence on climate change and its impact on human health and human wellbeing,” he says. 

Bartone says the climate science suggests warming will affect human health and wellbeing “by increasing the environment and situations in which infectious diseases can be transmitted, and through more extreme weather events, particularly heatwaves”. 

“Climate change will cause higher mortality and morbidity from heat stress,” the AMA president says. “Climate change will cause injury and mortality from increasingly severe weather events. Climate change will cause increases in the transmission of vector-borne diseases. Climate change will cause food insecurity resulting from declines in agricultural outputs. Climate change will cause a higher incidence of mental ill-health. 

“These effects are already being observed internationally and in Australia.” 

Bartone told Guardian Australia the motion adopted by the federal council had followed an ongoing discussion among stakeholders, and medical practitioners within the AMA membership....... 

 The latest official data released last week confirms that greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise in Australia. National emissions increased by 3.1m tonnes in the year to March to reach 538.9m tonnes, a 0.6% jump on the previous year. 

Emissions in Australia have increased every year since the Abbott government repealed a national carbon price after taking office in 2013.

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Do you know exactly who Medicare, your GP, specialist doctor or local area health service are sharing your personal medical information with?


Electronic Frontiers Australia, media release, 26 August 2019: 

Australia, Melbourne — Monday 26 August 2019 — EFA, Future Wise, Digital Rights Watch and APF today call again for a comprehensive review of privacy provisions for healthcare data. 

 Following the HealthEngine scandal in 2018, and the recent use of Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) data to assist recruitment into research on Bipolar disorder, a Twitter user on Friday 23 August shared a SMS message attempting to recruit him into a clinical trial. 

This appears to have occurred through the use of Precedence Healthcare’s InCa (Integrated Care) health platform. Research by members of digital rights organisations today revealed that sensitive patient details—including contact details, demographics and complete medical histories—can be shared with a wide range of partners, including, it appears, private health insurers. 

Dr Trent Yarwood, health spokesperson for Future Wise and a medical specialist, said “Secondary uses like this are a very ethically murky area. People don’t generally expect to have personal details from their healthcare providers made available to anyone, even if well intentioned.” 

The terms and conditions of the application include access to data from myHealthRecord. “While the My Health Records Act includes privacy provisions, once this data is accessed by an external system, these provisions no longer apply,” continued Dr Yarwood. “I’m very concerned that practices making use of this system are not aware of just how widely this data can be shared—and that they are expected to fully inform patients of the nature of the data use,” he concluded. 

“This kind of barely-controlled data sharing is only possible because of how little privacy protection is provided by the current legislation,” said Justin Warren, Electronic Frontiers Australia board member. 

“People have made it clear time and time again that information about their health is extremely personal, private, and they expect it to be kept secure, not shared with all and sundry,” he said. “What people think is happening is quite different to what actually is, and these companies are risking catastrophic damage to patient trust with their lust for data.” 

“If you found out your doctor was sharing your full medical history with private health insurers, or the police, would you keep seeing them?” he added. 

Robust privacy protections are needed for all Australians, such as by finally giving us the right to sue for breach of privacy, requiring explicit consent for each disclosure of medical or health data to a third party, and proper auditing of record-access that is visible to the patient. It is imperative that the risks of health data sharing receive greater attention. [my yellow highlighting]

Australian Health Information Technology, 25 August 2019: 

This Seems To Be A System Of Sharing Personal Health Information That Is Rather Out Of Control. 

I noticed this last week: How does Inca collect and share health information? 

Updated 1 month ago 

Precedence Health Care’s Integrated Care Platform (Inca) is a cloud- based network of digital health and wellness services, including MediTracker mobile application services. 

It is important that all users of Inca services understand how the network collects and shares health information (“personal information”) and are aware of their responsibilities for gaining informed consent from patients. 

To the extent applicable (if at all), the Health Privacy Principles (or equivalent), which operate in some jurisdictions, should guide your actions. In the absence of applicable Health Privacy Principles, you should refer to relevant Commonwealth, State or Territory privacy legislation, and assistance can also be derived by referring to the website of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. You should make sure you are familiar with the applicable principles or other relevant guidance, and also with Precedence Health Care’s Privacy Policy. 

Inca collects and shares personal information about patients and other persons under care (also called “consumers”) who consent to this information being stored and shared in the network. This information may come from a variety of sources, including the clinical software systems used by GPs (e.g., Medical Director, Best Practice); other members of the patient’s care team (e.g., allied health professionals, medical specialists); the patient themselves; participating health services and pathology services; and the Commonwealth’s My Health Record. 

Inca uses this information to provide a range of health care and wellness services to the patient and their care team. 

Prior to contributing a patient’s personal information to be stored in or used by Inca, users must obtain informed consent from patients for the collection and sharing of this information. Ensuring that patients are informed about what will happen with the information that is being shared is a fundamental component of best practice in privacy, so it is important that all Inca users and patients know what information is available on Inca and who has access to that information. 

When a patient’s GP or other person authorised by the GP uses Inca to collect personal information from their general practice clinical system, Inca will extract and share the following information: 

· Patient demographics 
· Alcohol consumption and smoking status 
· Allergies and adverse reactions 
· Family and social history 
· Observations and results 
· Current medications 
· Immunisation history 
· Current and past problems 

If the patient or the GP does not wish to share some of this information, the GP’s clinical system should provide a means for declaring such data “confidential” and thereby preventing it being sent to Inca. 

GPs who do not know how to do this should contact the provider of their clinical software. Inca may also collect and share information obtained from other sources. 

These include: 

· Information that the GP or any member of the care team or the patient themselves adds to the patient record or to any notes concerning the patient’s care using Inca services, web sites or mobile devices. This information may include contact information, measurements, care plans, assessments, referrals, progress notes, appointments, and other related personal and health information. 

· Information from participating Health Services, including discharge summaries and emergency department attendance. 

· Information obtained from My Health Record. This information may include some or all of the data stored in the patient’s My Health Record. 

It is the responsibility of the provider of information stored in or used by Inca, or the person who grants access to such information, to inform the patient of the type of personal information that is so provided or made accessible. 

Inca will provide access to a patient’s personal information with the patient’s GP and care team, the patient (or their carer as authorised by the patient), participating Health Services, and some others as necessary to provide the services of Inca. Precedence Health Care may share de-identified data (that is, data from which it is impossible to ascertain who you are) to persons or organisations who are engaged in research, trials and analyses relating to improvements in health and the management of health services. The way Inca shares and protects this information is described in the Precedence Health Care Privacy Policy. 

It is important that patients understand what information is being shared, who it is being shared with, and for what purpose. It is the responsibility of the persons providing this information to ensure that each patient is aware that their personal and health information is being stored on a computer system hosted on a secure site in Australia, as described in the Precedence Health Care Privacy Policy. 

It is also important for all users of Inca to be aware that this information may not be complete, up to date, or accurate. 

In seeking informed consent to participate, patients should be advised that any measurements or notes that they enter into Inca are not continuously monitored and will be available to members of the patient’s care team only when the provider next logs in to Inca. 

Patients who are concerned about any condition should contact their GP or other health care provider using their normal means (e.g., phone) and should not use Inca for this purpose. 

Please contact Precedence Health Care’s Privacy Officer on (03) 9023 0800 or email privacy@precedencehealthcare.com if you have any questions or concerns about our Privacy Policy, or if you wish to suggest improvements. You may also contact your State’s Privacy Commissioner or Ombudsman to get advice about privacy or make a complaint. 

Here is the link: https://phc.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360021090952-How-does-cdmNet-collect-and-share-health-information- 

For background Precedence Health run a shared patient data base which is accessible to GPs, Specialists and Allied Health Staff for the purpose of care planning and co-ordinating care. Using their system allows GPs to claim a Medicare Item No for this service. They also provide patient access to the data and have services such as reminders etc in an app. 

All that said this system, on its own statements, just sucks information from everywhere (GP systems, health services and the myHR) and pops it into one database. One user, who is now switching it off, revoking consent and getting out has described to me a collection of erroneous and mis-sorted data on their record. 

More they seem to be happy to hand out the data to others claiming it is de-identified – and we all know how in-effective that can be! 

The rather loose way consent rules for disclosure appear to be enforced is also a worry. 

They even have the legendary myHR disclaimer that “It is also important for all users of Inca to be aware that this information may not be complete, up to date, or accurate.” Doh! 

You can see the Privacy Policy here if you wish! https://phc.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360021091012-Privacy-Policy- 

Don’t know about you but none of my information would go anywhere near this if I could help it! It looks like a serious unthought through shambles to me. 

What do you think? 

David.  [my yellow highlighting]

Sunday, 25 August 2019

Barnaby Joyce has all the tact and grace of a lumbering hippo (apologies to all hippopotamus amphibius )


Disgraced former Deputy Prime Minister & MP for New England Barnaby Joyce isn't finding many allies in the NSW Northern Rivers region.... 

The Daily Examiner, 21 August 2019, p.3: 

Chris Gulaptis has delivered a clear message to Nationals counterpart Barnaby Joyce over his controversial foray into the NSW abortion debate.

On Monday, Clarence Valley residents received anti-abortion robocalls from Mr Joyce, the Federal member for New England. 

In the pre-recorded message Mr Joyce makes a number of false statements regarding the abortion bill including that it would allow “sex selective abortions” and “abortion for any reason right up until the day of birth”. 

He then urges members of the community to contact their local member to voice their opposition to the bill. 

However, Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis said he was “disappointed” by the actions of his National Party colleague. 

“We certainly don’t interfere with federal matters and I encourage him not to interfere with NSW state parliamentary matters.” 

Mr Gulaptis re-iterated his support for the private members bill which would remove abortion from the state’s Crimes Act, which he voted for as it went through the lower house last week 59-31, after a marathon debate. 

Mr Gulaptis voted for some of the amendments to the bill and was “interested to see what amendments come down from the Upper House” but was as “happy as I can be” with it. 

“The intent of the bill is to remove abortion from the criminal code and put it into health where it should be,” he said. 

“Our primary concern is to support women who have to make these decisions which will be with them for the rest of their lives.”

And Barnaby is rather upset......


Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Will the Clarence Valley see an upgrade of Grafton Base Hospital within the next three years or will it take a decade to commence?


Grafton Base Hospital is a 50-99 bed public health facility which offers health services to an est. 51,647 resident population in the Clarence Valley on the NSW North Coast and an additional annual tourist population which can reach or exceed 1 million visitors.

In the first quarter of 2019 ambulance arrivals at Grafton Hospital were up 11.5 per cent, emergency department presentations rose by 3 per cent, emergency presentations climbed by 4.2 per cent, hospital admissions increased by 14.9 per cent with acute admissions totalling 3,127 patients and the elective surgery waiting times continued to grow.

In that same quarter during the NSW state election campaign the Nationals MP for Clarence on behalf of the Berejiklian Coalition Government promised voters in the Clarence Electorate a much needed $263.8-million overhaul of Grafton Hospital.

At the time doubts were raised about the genuineness of this promise as it contained little detail.

Those doubts are now resurfacing……

The Daily Examiner, 21 June 2019, p.3:

A major hospital upgrade looks to be a while off as the Clarence Valley joins the long queue of regions promised big projects at the New South Wales election.

The $263million commitment to the Grafton Base Hospital redevelopment was made in the final weeks of the campaign in March and is just one of many major infrastructure promises outlined in the 2019-20 Budget Papers.

However, there there was no specific line item in the 2019-20 Budget and Nationals MP Chris Gulaptis was quick to point out it would take time.

“It’s not a line item as such as we are still in the very early planning stages but there is a commitment for works to commence during this term of government,” he said.
“In the meantime, consultation needs to occur between the LHD, clinicians and the community to ensure the redeveloped hospital is able to provide for the community into the future.”

Mr Gulaptis said he had received assurances from Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Treasurer Dominic Perrotet and Deputy Premier John Barilaro that all election commitments would be honoured and provided a letter from Health Minister Brad Hazzard responding to representations he made after winning the election.

In the letter, Mr Hazzard said the project was one of many promised but work would still start before the end of the current term of parliament.

“In the period prior to the March election, the NSW Government announced a significant number of upgrades to hospital and health facilities across the state,” he said.

“This requires a prioritisation of when projects will commence over the next four years and will occur in alignment with the annual budget process.

“Once funding is made available through the budget process, Health Infrastructure will work with the local health district and clinical staff to progress the project through the planning stages.”......

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Quote of the Week



“First Nations children account for almost 90 per cent of the suicides of children aged 14 and younger. The nation should weep.”  [National Critical Response Trauma Recovery Project Co-Ordinator Gerry Georgatos writing in The Sydney Morning Herald, 3 June 2019]

Friday, 7 June 2019

Northern NSW residents are still over-represented when it comes to smoking cigarettes



The Daily Examiner, 4 June 2019, p.7:

Northern NSW residents are still over-represented when it comes to smoking cigarettes.

Despite years of warnings and anti-smoking campaigns, statistics taken in 2016 reveal 20.3 per cent of population in the North Coast Local Health District is smoking.

The rate has remained largely unchanged for years as a report released by the Cancer Institute showed the number of smokers in 2011 stood at 20.4 per cent
This contrasted with statewide smoking trends which showed the number of smokers had dropped considerably over the past decade, down from almost 20 percent to just 15.2 per cent in 2017.

There was a clear difference between metropolitan and regional areas, with city health districts recording bigger falls and one regional health district, Western NSW, recording an increase of four per cent since 2012.

Males aged 25-34 were the most likely to be lighting up as 25.9 per cent of the group were smokers compared to 11.8 per cent of women the same age.

In fact, the only age group in which women out-smoked men was in the 55-64 and 65-74 categories and in both cases it was only a one per cent difference.

A higher proportion of women reported smoking while pregnant, with Northern NSW recording a rate five per cent above the state average of 8.3 per cent......

Friday, 24 May 2019

The 2019 federal election is over - so now the Morrison Government cuts are on again


Patient to GP Ratio [RACGP, General Practice: Health of the Nation,  2018]


Having waited until the 18 May 2019 federal election was over, Prime Minister 'Liar from the Shire' Morrison 7 his cronies are rolling out the funding pennypinching once more - and it's no surprise that it's the very young, very old and the poor who are the targets again.

ABC News, 22 May 2019:

Bulk billing of children and pensioners, as well as home visits to elderly and dying patients, could be scrapped in outer metro areas across Australia because of cuts which doctors say they will not be able to afford.

An incoming change to bulk-billing incentives has pushed GPs to breaking point, medical groups have warned, requiring them to provide crucial primary health services for less than the cost of a barber's cut.

The Federal Government has changed a key geographical classification, scrapping some outer suburban zones of incentives intended for rural areas.

From January 2020, the bulk-billing incentive in outer metro areas will be reduced from about $10 to $6 per patient, per visit.

The changes will affect GP practices in as many as 13 outer metro regions, including in Canberra, Adelaide's south, the New South Wales Central Coast, Geelong and the Mornington Peninsula.

The Australian Medical Association SA president, Dr Chris Moy, said many of the affected regions are low socio-economic areas.

He said the changes could put more pressure on already costly hospital systems, because patients could no longer afford to visit their GPs regularly.

"This is an example of a just a small change. It's not a huge change, but it's enough to break the camel's back," he said.

"It's more difficult for individuals to pay a gap in those situations so it's unfortunate this has happened."

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners president Harry Nespolon said general practitioners in the city and in the country were effectively being asked to work for free.

"The Medicare rebates are insufficient to provide the care that patients need," Dr Nespolon said.

"I don't think people want their GPs to do work for nothing but that's effectively what we're being asked to do.

"If the services become marginal in the sense they don't cover their costs, then they've got a choice — they can either go out of business or charge a fee.

"GPs in practices everywhere, rural or otherwise, are considering whether or not the current amount of rebate if they do bulk bill a patient is able to keep them in business."…….

Quick explanation of rebates:

·       The Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) is a list of medical services for which the Australian Government provides a Medicare rebate.

·        Each MBS item has its own scheduled fee — this is the amount the Government considers appropriate for a particular service (e.g. getting a blood test or seeing a psychologist).

·        Rebates are typically paid as a percentage of the Medicare scheduled fee. In the case of GP consultations, the rebate is 100 per cent of the schedule fee.

·       This means that bulk-billing GPs agree to charge patients the Medicare schedule fee ($37.60 for a standard appointment) and are directly reimbursed by the Government, and there is no cost to the patient.

·        GPs who don't bulk bill charge a fee higher than the Medicare schedule fee, meaning patients must pay the difference between the schedule fee and the doctor's fee — out of their own pocket.

·       For example, if your doctor charges $75 for a standard consultation, you'll pay $75 and receive a rebate of $37.60 — leaving you $37.40 worse off.

According to the federal Dept. of Health areas which will be losing the higher bulkbilling incentives (for treatment of patients with concession cards and children under 16 years) include:

Mandurah (WA)
Mornington Peninsula (Vic)
Canberra (ACT)
Newcastle (NSW)
Central Coast (NSW)
Queanbeyan (NSW)
Maitland (NSW)
Sunshine Coast (Qld)
Gawler (SA)
Geelong (Vic)
Melton (Vic)
Pakenham (Vic)
Ellenbrook (WA)
Baldivis (WA).

However the existing patient to GP ratio in an area is not necessarily the primary factor in determining who is on or off this list.

It seems you only have to live in an area where the local town/city has grown to over 20,000 residents since 1991 to find GPs being deprived of the full incentive payment per concession card/child patient seen.

Anyone living in the regions mentioned will know that what can appear to be a comfortable patient to GP ratio is not always evenly spread and in some areas certain GPs have already closed their books and are not taking new patients or are having difficulty attracting new GPs to established practices to fill unmet needs.

Just to make matters clear. some of the named places which will see GP incentive payments reduced on 1 July fall into the categories of regional or peri-urban area and, as at 30 June 2018 Australia-wide there were only 6,994 GPs in Inner Regional areas and 3,285 GPs in Outer Regional areas, according the the federal Dept. of Health statistics.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Even as it devours itself the Morrison Coalition Government is determined to impose its warped 1950s ideology on women and girls



On that day the Australian Human Rights Law Centre said that the [UN] High Commissioner highlighted the importance of the right to social security and of recognising the value of unpaid care work in addressing women’s inequality.  Yet the Australian Government was steadily undermining its social security system and making life harder for many women.  Currently it was imposing its punitive ParentsNext programme on single mothers accessing social security.

And Mexico and Finland, speaking on behalf of a group of countries, stated that human rights bodies’ remedies must fulfil the rights of victims, and include adequate, effective and prompt reparation.  Women and girls in humanitarian settings were particularly vulnerable to human rights violations such as sexual and gender based violence, human trafficking and forced abortions. 

After a motion was put forward in relation to Mexico and Finland’s concerns 57 countries including the United Kingdom signed the subsequent statement.

According to SBS News on 11 March 2019  the motion broadly called for greater accountability for human rights violations against women and girls and the statement proposed greater implementation of 'policies and legislation that respect women and girls' right to bodily autonomy'. This included guaranteed universal protection of women's sexual and reproductive health, comprehensive sexuality education and access to safe abortion.

Australia refused to be a signatory to this official UN statement.


Why was reference to existing law so important to Australia?

The highlighted section in the Human Rights Law Centre news release below gives the answer.

The Morrison Government - dominated as it is by middle-aged far-right men - refuses to open the door to debate on decriminalising abortion in the last three states which still retain a prohibition of abortion in their criminal codes.

Apparently Scott Morrison is averse to any debate on this issue, as in his own high-handed, paternalistic words “I don’t think it is good for our country”.


The Morrison Government has failed to sign on to an International Women’s Day statement at the United Nations calling for access to safe abortions, comprehensive sexuality education and sexual reproductive health.

As recently as last week, in a speech to the UN Human Rights Council, the Australian Foreign Minister, Marise Payne, said the number one guiding principle for the Government's time on the Council was "gender equality". Yet when 57 countries came together on International Women's Day to support a motion proposed by Finland and Mexico, the Morrison Government chose not to back it.

Edwina MacDonald, a Legal Director at the Human Rights Law Centre, who is attending the session in Geneva, said it was extremely disappointing to see the Australian Government once again fail to live up to its promises at the UN.

“Being able to make choices about our own bodies and access reproductive health are absolutely essential to achieving gender equality. No government can truly support gender equality and human rights without supporting access to safe abortions and reproductive rights," said Ms MacDonald.

In Australia, abortion is still in the criminal statute books in New South WalesSouth Australia and Western Australia. This is a recognised form of sex discrimination in international human rights law. The criminalisation of abortion harms women by making it harder to access safe and compassionate reproductive healthcare.

"The Morrison Government holds a really important role on the Human Rights Council, it should be using its voice at the UN to stand up for the rights of women all around the world. Instead we get hollow words here in Geneva and a failure to lift its game back home. It's so disappointing," said Ms MacDonald.

Australia was elected for a three-year term on the UN Human Rights Council in October 2017.  [my yellow highlighting]

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Tweets of the Week



Sunday, 16 December 2018

Baby power appears to be a ticking time bomb for consumers



Reuters Investigates, 14 December 2018:

Facing thousands of lawsuits alleging that its talc caused cancer, J&J insists on the safety and purity of its iconic product. But internal documents examined by Reuters show that the company's powder was sometimes tainted with carcinogenic asbestos and that J&J kept that information from regulators and the public….

J&J didn’t tell the FDA that at least three tests by three different labs from 1972 to 1975 had found asbestos in its talc – in one case at levels reported as “rather high.”……

…J&J has been compelled to share thousands of pages of company memos, internal reports and other confidential documents with lawyers for some of the 11,700 plaintiffs now claiming that the company’s talc caused their cancers — including thousands of women with ovarian cancer.

A Reuters examination of many of those documents, as well as deposition and trial testimony, shows that from at least 1971 to the early 2000s, the company’s raw talc and finished powders sometimes tested positive for small amounts of asbestos, and that company executives, mine managers, scientists, doctors and lawyers fretted over the problem and how to address it while failing to disclose it to regulators or the public.

The documents also depict successful efforts to influence U.S. regulators’ plans to limit asbestos in cosmetic talc products and scientific research on the health effects of talc.

A small portion of the documents have been produced at trial and cited in media reports. Many were shielded from public view by court orders that allowed J&J to turn over thousands of documents it designated as confidential. Much of their contents is reported here for the first time……

The World Health Organization and other authorities recognize no safe level of exposure to asbestos. While most people exposed never develop cancer, for some, even small amounts of asbestos are enough to trigger the disease years later…..

What J&J produced in response to those demands has allowed plaintiffs’ lawyers to refine their argument: The culprit wasn’t necessarily talc itself, but also asbestos in the talc. That assertion, backed by decades of solid science showing that asbestos causes mesothelioma and is associated with ovarian and other cancers, has had mixed success in court.

In two cases earlier this year – in New Jersey and California – juries awarded big sums to plaintiffs who, like Coker, blamed asbestos-tainted J&J talc products for their mesothelioma.

A third verdict, in St. Louis, was a watershed, broadening J&J’s potential liability: The 22 plaintiffs were the first to succeed with a claim that asbestos-tainted Baby Powder and Shower to Shower talc, a longtime brand the company sold in 2012, caused ovarian cancer, which is much more common than mesothelioma. The jury awarded them $4.69 billion in damages. Most of the talc cases have been brought by women with ovarian cancer who say they regularly used J&J talc products as a perineal antiperspirant and deodorant.

At the same time, at least three juries have rejected claims that Baby Powder was tainted with asbestos or caused plaintiffs’ mesothelioma. Others have failed to reach verdicts, resulting in mistrials.

J&J has said it will appeal the recent verdicts against it. It has maintained in public statements that its talc is safe, as shown for years by the best tests available, and that the information it has been required to divulge in recent litigation shows the care the company takes to ensure its products are asbestos-free. It has blamed its losses on juror confusion, “junk” science, unfair court rules and overzealous lawyers looking for a fresh pool of asbestos plaintiffs…..

Read the full article here.