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Last year, a Supreme Court ruling came down that will affect thousands of Americans, even if they were not aware of the ruling. Building on a ruling that declared manufacturers of medical devices could, in some cases, enjoy immunity status if the device turned out to be defective, last year's case determined that no patient could challenge a manufacturer in state court if it had been approved at the federal level. According to Forbes, the ruling is a big win for medical product manufacturers and a loss for American consumers.

The ruling, which, according to Forbes, outlines that “state lawsuits claiming drugmakers failed to adequately design their medicines cannot proceed because they are pre-empted by federal law,” was based on a 2004 incident in which a New Hampshire woman was left unable to see, work, or eat without a feeding tube. The woman had taken a generic non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, but later developed Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis. A lower court ruling awarded her $21 million in damages. The manufacturer of the drug, Mutual Pharmaceutical, argued that the decision should be overturned because the FDA had already approved the drug.

Mutual pointed to a 2011 ruling which determined that generic drugs were not required to change product labeling if alerted to side effects of which they were not previously aware.

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Thrombosis, or blood clots as they are colloquially known, tend to manifest naturally in men more than women. Women, however, are at risk for blood clots primarily because of pregnancy, birth control, and other hormonal therapies men do not generally take, according to StopTheClot.org.

Birth control pills are the most common form of contraceptive used in the U.S., and carry a high risk of blood clotting. Women who take birth control pills are generally three to four times more likely of developing a blood clot than women who do not take the pill.

It should be noted that the chance of a woman developing a blood clot as a result of taking birth control pills is still relatively small. Only about one in 3,000 women develop a blood clot because of birth control, but if a woman has a history of thrombosis in her family, the risk increases significantly.

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With cancer rates at an all-time high and cancer remaining a leading cause of death in the United States, the word biopsy has become a household term. A biopsy, according to WebMD, is the examination of a contaminated tissue that was removed from the body to determine what disease—or to what extent the disease is present—is afflicting a patient. A patient will undergo a biopsy if he or she has abnormal test results or if a medical practitioner suspects that it could identify an unidentified condition. There are several types of biopsies, according to WebMD. A surgical biopsy is one of the most common, and one of the most dangerous. In a surgical biopsy, a surgeon will either remove a part of tissue or a whole lump of tissue.

Because of the sensitive nature of biopsies, especially in cases in which a patient may already be ill or injured, equipment used in the procedure must be painstakingly considered. When biopsy medical devices are recalled, it can be a very serious issue for any patient involved. One such recall issued in 2011 just recently expired, but not before implicating thousands of patients. In 2011, DeRoyal Industries, based in Tennessee, issued a recall of their Geomed Biopsy Tray, an all-inclusive tool kit used by surgeons to perform the invasive procedure. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there were several products included in the tray that were potentially contaminated, including triad lubricating jelly, alcohol prep pads, and alcohol swabs.

According to the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths (RID), Center for Disease Control data suggests that 1.7 million people contract infections in U.S. hospitals every year. The RID posits that number is actually seven times higher than that. Contamination from faulty medical equipment, such as the recalled biopsy tray, is one major culprit of such infection. Medical equipment that is not sterilized properly can not only transmit infection borne at the manufacturing site, but also obtained at the hospital itself.

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Cymbalta is a multi-use prescription drug most commonly used as an anti-depressant. Despite several clinical trials during the approval process of Cymbalta that alleged Cymbalta caused depression in otherwise healthy patients, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration did not recall the drug for use as an anti-depressant, according to the New York Times. Most tellingly, the suicide of 19-year-old drug tester Traci Johnson, who had no other symptoms of depression, brought the issues with Cymbalta to wider attention. Four years after this negative publicity, in 2008, Eli Lilly, the manufacturer of Cymbalta, sought to have the drug approved for treatment for chronic pain, especially in patients suffering from Fibromyalgia. The drug was not approved for such use in 2008. It would eventually be approved for such treatment in 2010, according to another article in the New York Times.

Cymbalta has been back in the news recently, as several lawsuits have been brought against Eli Lilly by patients using Cymbalta as an antidepressant. These patients claim to have experienced “brain zaps and other side effects” when attempting to stop taking the drug, according to Law360.com. Yet Eli Lilly representatives have responded to the claims by saying that medical professionals were made well aware of the risks when prescribing Cymbalta to their patients, and thus the fault does not lie with the drug manufacturer for failing to make patients aware of the risks of use.

According to Law360.com, Lilly earned $18 billion from 2004 to 2011 for the sales of Cymbalta. Like other antidepressants, patients are discouraged from suddenly stopping to take Cymbalta, as this can lead to serious conditions, either physical (ie: nausea, headache) or emotional (ie: irritability, anxiety, nightmares). The complaint alleges that if patients had known how difficult it would be to stop taking Cymbalta, they would never have started to take it in the first place.

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Sometimes prominent drugs are recalled and no one knows about it. This was the case with a 2010 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recall of the birth control Yaz, a contraceptive approved by the FDA for use among women as young as 14 years old. Yaz and Beyaz—a similar FDA-approved medication made by the same manufacturer, Berlex, Inc.—hit the market when it was approved in 2006, according to Drugs.com. Beyaz is primarily used to treat acne, while Yaz is marketed as the contraceptive. The only warnings on the Yaz website for either drug alert women who smoke and women over the age of 35 to increased risks of blood clot or stroke when taking the drug.

The trouble for the popular contraceptive came in 2010, when lawsuits started to pop up across the country alleging that women who were on the medication experienced a much higher rate of blood clots than the manufacturer had described. Bayer, the parent company for Yaz, was sued in 1,100 lawsuits that year, according to CBSNews.com. When Bayer began to face these lawsuits, Yaz was its best-selling product, according to CBS. As a result, one may think that a recall of the product would have been widely publicized. Not so.

The FDA issued a recall of the drug in November 2009, but it never made consumer headlines. This regardless of the fact that it “involved 32,856 boxes of Yaz, at three packs per box, and 122,208 boxes of Ocella, an identical product,” reports CBS. Despite its magnitude, the recall was hidden in the “Enforcement Report” section of the FDA website, meaning that anyone who wanted to know about the recall would already have had to know to look there.

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