HEALTH

Judge dismisses important J&J claim in Red Cross case

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON A federal judge on Monday dismissed an important part of the lawsuit brought by Johnson & Johnson against the American Red Cross seeking to restrict the Red Cross’s use of its emblem on first aid, health, safety and emergency preparedness products, the Red Cross announced Tuesday.

The judge’s ruling dismissed entirely the J&J claim that the Red Cross promised not to engage in the sale of first aid, health, safety and emergency preparedness products.

“I appreciate the court’s decision and hope that Johnson & Johnson will reassess their actions and drop the case altogether,” stated Mark Everson, president and chief executive officer of the American Red Cross. “As the recent wildfires in California demonstrated, the Red Cross has an important mission to perform, and we want to put this distraction behind us and do the work the American people expect us to do.”

Following a hearing on Monday, Oct. 29, at the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Judge Jed Rakoff ruled that the “promissory estoppel” claim, a very significant portion of the pharmaceutical company’s lawsuit against the Red Cross, was “dismissed with prejudice.” The judge’s ruling also means that J&J cannot refile arguments on this claim.

The judge’s order comes nearly three months after J&J filed suit against the Red Cross for the Red Cross’ use of its emblem on products it sells to the public.

The court has set a schedule for hearing the remaining claims early next year.

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Trio of Democrats sponsors bill giving FDA new authority

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON If you can’t beat the rules, then change ‘em.

At least that seems to be the thinking behind the introduction of the Non-Prescription Drug Modernization Act on Tuesday, which would give both the Food and Drug Administration and the Secretary of Health and Human Services broad new authorities to quickly amend or appeal OTC drug monographs without being required to pursue notice and comment rulemaking as currently required under the Administrative Procedures Act.

The bill was introduced today by Reps. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., Tom Allen, D-Maine, and Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass. Waxman recently criticized the FDA and industry for not immediately acting upon an FDA advisory committee panel recommendation that cough and cold products should not be marketed for children under the age of six.

Without the cooperation of industry, the FDA would need to pursue a lengthy rulemaking process to make any amendments to the monographs governing kids cough and cold medicines. That process could take years, FDA has reported. This piece of legislation would eliminate that process.

The bill also would add OTC drug advertising to FDA’s purview, moving it from the jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission.

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Vicks Comfort CAREvan tours country, gives out hot chocolate and tea

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI Procter & Gamble on Monday announced that its Vicks Comfort CAREvan will be hitting the road this month and next to help promote Vicks.

Academy Award-winning actress Marcia Gay Harden (Pollock and Mystic River) is teaming up with Vicks on the tour. “My role as wife and mother is my proudest achievement and providing the best care possible to my family is my top priority,” Harden stated. “With the Vicks family of products, I am comforted knowing that I have a range of options to soothe or treat symptoms this cold season.”

At the Vicks Comfort CAREvan, visitors will be treated to complimentary hot chocolate and tea, chair massages, Vicks product samples and be able to take and bring home with them a family portrait for free. Visitors will also be encouraged to video tape a Caring Tribute story, on-site at the Comfort CAREvan, about a person who has cared and comforted them when they needed it most. By sharing their video story, they will have an opportunity to win a $10,000 travel package.

As part of the road tour, P&G will also donate a total of $10,000 to HELP USA, a non-profit organization which helps the homeless and others in need become and remain self-reliant.

The Vicks Comfort CAREvan will be traveling to the following cities:

Nov. 10—New YorkNov. 16-18—CincinnatiNov. 23—IndianapolisDec. 1—AtlantaDec. 7—PhoenixDec. 14-16—DenverDec. 22—Washington

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