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Block Box Warning on Avandia since May 2007

In 1999, a new drug that was meant to benefit type 2 diabetes patients was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for prescription and use – Avandia, also known under the name Rosiglitazone. Avandia was manufactured by SmithKlineBeecham Corporation (the company is now called GlaxoSmithKline after it merged with Glaxo Wellcome). This oral drug, which decreases the level of blood sugar (glucose), is recommended for type 2 diabetics who, for medical reasons, cannot take Actos or Pioglitazone, or whose bodily system would not respond to other diabetes drugs. It is usually combined with exercise and proper diet or with other anti-diabetic medication, like sulfonylureas or metformin, though it may be taken alone. Type I diabetics should not take Avendia due to the very low, or absence of, insulin in their system.

Avandia became GlaxoSmithKline’s second most used product, being prescribed to more than six million people since its release on May 25, 1999. Multiple studies, however, were made on Avandia due to claims that it increases risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular heart ailments; there were claims that it has even caused the death of some patients. Thus, in August 2007, following a recommendation arrived at during a joint gathering of FDA’s advisory committees made up of the agency’s Drug Safety and Risk Management and the Endocrine and Metabolic Drugs, FDA added the “possibility of increased risk of heart attack” info on the drug’s black box warning label which was first requested by FDA in May 2007 (this first request only stated greater risk of congestive heart failure).

A black box warning (also called boxed warning or black label warning) is the sternest warning that the FDA can issue on a drug which is reported to cause severe and life-threatening side effects. Besides Avandia’s physician labeling and patient Medication Guide, this warning also appears in all forms of literature and advertisements (like in magazines) about the drug.

Due to further studies being made on Avandia, the FDA decided not to pull the drug out of the market yet. Continuous study and increase in reported Avandia side-effects prompted the FDA to notify the public anew (specifically, on February 3, 2011), this time, of the drug’s possible cardiovascular (and heart attack) risks. Though physicians are allowed to continue prescribing Avandia and other Avandia-containing medicines (but only to those who have been using the drug already), patients should be informed of the warnings already issued by the FDA on the drug.

Child Custody

Child custody, which is intended to ensure that the best interests of the child are prioritized even after divorce, is a critical divorce-related issue. Its mandate is that the child’s future should never be compromised. Thus, whoever the court assigns as the custodial parent becomes responsible with regard to the child’s education, medical care, and other developmental needs.

There are four main types of child custody. Sometimes the court assigns both parents as custodians to ensure their continuous participation in their child’s life. Child custody can be:

  • Legal custody – this type of custody grants custodial parents the right to decide about what’s good for their children: where the child should study and what church he or she should go to are some of the issues legal custody is meant to address. Some courts award legal custody to both parents. In the case of joint legal custody, both parents are guaranteed a say in these important issues.
  • Sole custody – if one parent is deemed unfit by the judge to continue caring for his or her child, usually due to drug dependency, alcoholism, mental incapacity, child abuse, or an unsuitable new partner, then sole custody may be the court’s choice.
  • Physical custody – this type of custody allows the custodial parent to be in the same house with his or her children. If the parents happen to live near one another, then joint physical custody may be chosen by the court instead. This is also based on the condition that both parents, despite the divorce, still continue to spend almost equal time with the child.
  • Joint custody – this type of custody entails joint legal and physical custody for both parents.

Child custody can be a contentious issue with profound effects for the lives of both the children and their parents.

Homeless Individuals Suing New Hampshire

homeless person campThree homeless individuals are suing the state of New Hampshire after being told they can no longer maintain a camp in public woods in Concord. The camp, which was hidden from view in the trees behind Hazen Drive, held five homeless people who worked to keep the area clean and did not disturb nearby residents.

This comes after the city’s efforts to move its homeless population away from their old hotspots, such as the area behind Everett Arena and a clearing next to a stretch of train tracks. Concord has a homeless population of approximately 150 people who are running out of places to go.

The homeless people who are being evicted from the woods have hired an attorney to represent their interests. Their lawyer says that there should be somewhere for them to go, especially if they are not going to be allowed to live at their encampment, where they were not harming anyone.

The state has not commented on the lawsuit, but says it is making efforts to improve awareness of the services available to those in need. The homeless behind the lawsuit argue that they are being pushed further and further away from these services, making them increasingly difficult to gain access to.

Boon or Bane? Injuries on the Eagle Ford Shale

There are speculations that there have been more people injured on the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas than has been officially reported. Currently, the fatalities reported for that particular beacon of fossil fuel and mineral deposits has risen to 13, but that is the unofficial count. Of the workers employed in the more than 4,000 drilling permits applied for in 2012, the number of the injured on the Eagle Ford Shale could easily be grim.

Oil and gas extraction is an inherently dangerous undertaking; injuries are bound to happen. The recent flurry of oil leases and drilling activities has increased the chances of serious injury to workers exponentially. Most recently in Eagle Ford Shale, a worker was killed when he was hit on the head by a falling pipe. It doesn’t take much to turn a good day into bad.

The Lowdown on Eagle Ford Shale

The Eagle Ford Shale is one of two areas with the richest oil deposits in the US, calculated to have about 10 billion gallons waiting to be tapped. The other one is in the Permian Basin, also in Texas, which in turn is may very well contain 17% of the total oil reserves in the country.  The Eagle Ford Shale was first tapped in October 2008 by Petrohawk, providing a lot of people in the area with good paying jobs and fueling a boost the economy. In general, safety procedures are observed, but not always.

Safety issues at Eagle Ford Shale

It is undeniable that the nature of the work is generally risky, but unsafe working conditions make it much easier for workers to get injured on the Eagle Ford Shale. For each of the 13 fatalities in the Eagle Ford Shale group, inadequate safety gear and/or working conditions were pinpointed as the culprit. Workers did not get enough training in safety procedures, and in some cases the safety equipment was lacking. As in the case of the most recent fatality, falling objects can be deadly, but even non-fatal injuries due to falling objects, faulty equipment, or misuse of heavy machinery can have devastating effects. And yet they are believed to be under-reported. It is likely that out of every 100 workers in the industry, four suffer non-fatal injuries that are not always officially recorded.

If you or someone you know got injured on the Eagle Ford Shale due to carelessness or negligence in the workplace, don’t feel pressured to keep silent. Consult with a personal injury lawyer and get compensation for the costs associated with the injury.

For more Eagle Ford news, please visit this site to keep yourself updated: http://eaglefordshale.com/

U.N. Reports on Untapped Food Resource: Insects

eating instectsThe United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization released a report yesterday stating that edible insects have the potential to significantly cut worldwide hunger.

The report praises the great nutritional value of edible insects. They are high in protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and fat and already consumed regularly by more than 2 billion people worldwide.

While the organization is not advocating for everyone to start eating insects, it is suggesting western countries look into the benefits of using insects as food, particularly as animal feed. The report also makes a case for forest conservation, as many edible insects inhabit forests.

Some of the most commonly eaten insects are grasshoppers, ants, scorpions, and grub worms. Insects are typically fried, salted, and eaten with a sauce depending on regional preferences. Next time you’re out camping, try to add an insect or two to your meal!