Will the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program Be Busy in 2021 (and Beyond)?

The recent withdrawal of emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine got us thinking about the implications of rushing Covid-19 remedies—and more specifically, vaccines. “Vaccine development is a long, complex process, often lasting 10-15 years and involving a combination of public and private involvement.” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, recently said that by the beginning of 2021 the United States hopes 100 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine will be available. Depending on when the coronavirus…
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New York Reduces Testing Requirement for Many Nursing Homes to Once a Week

We recently wrote about how there has been criticism of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Administration’s handling of nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. On May 10, 2020, in response to that criticism, Gov. Cuomo issued executive Order EO202.30 which required all nursing homes in the state to test all of its staff twice a week and report any positive results to the Commissioner of Health. The May 10 Executive Order is available to view here. The Administration is now partially reversing that order after new…
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Mobile Medical Apps: To Be or Not to Be (Wellness or Medical)? That is the Question

The size of the mobile medical app market is massive. One report shows in 2017 the global market was $2.4 billion, with a forecast of $11 billion by 2025. The Apple App Store alone has more than 45,000 health apps. We believe that the COVID-19 crisis will accelerate that growth as the world has now become acclimated to the use of mobile technology for the provision and facilitation of health care and wellness. For years, FDA and industry grappled with the extent to which the…
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Will Lawmakers Provide Immunity to Businesses from COVID-19 Lawsuits?

As state and local governments take steps toward reopening the economy, business owners are rallying around the issue of liability immunity from COVID-19 lawsuits and organizing efforts aimed at pressuring federal and state lawmakers to enact legislation limiting liability from lawsuits filed by workers and customers infected by COVID-19. The stakes are high. Because the complete clinical picture regarding COVID-19 is not fully understood, big and small businesses alike are targets for opportunistic lawsuits. When symptoms may not develop for days after the fact, just…
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Reasonably Prudent and COVID-19

Hyperbole aside, the impacts from COVID-19 have been pervasive, touching all aspects of our society. Commentators continue to identify just how far and wide these impacts have been, and it will likely take a number of years for us all to truly understand the breadth of the changes being wrought, including in the legal industry generally, and in litigation specifically. As life science companies and their counsel know full-well, a critical component of tort law in many jurisdictions is the concept of the “reasonable person”…
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New York Lawmakers Seek to Repeal Statute Granting Immunity to Nursing Homes

In a previous post, we wrote about New York’s Emergency Disaster Treatment Protection Act (EDTPA), which was enacted on April 6, 2020 as part of the state budget. EDTPA provides immunity to hospitals, nursing homes, administrators, nursing aides, nursing attendants, EMTs, home health care workers, physicians, and other health care professionals that arises from alleged decisions, actions and/or omissions related to the care of individuals with COVID-19 from Governor Cuomo’s initial emergency declaration on March 7, 2020 through its expiration. The statute creates a new…
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Legal Immunity and COVID-19–Controversy Continues

Earlier this month, we wrote about the looming debate over legal immunity against certain types of claims in lawsuits arising out of the COVID-19 crisis. On May 15, 2020, the New York Times published an opinion piece editorializing against the prospect of immunity from certain types of suits being contemplated by the Senate. Like many of the opponents of immunity, the Times fear-mongers, raises straw-man opposition, and is unmoored from the reality of what really happens in civil litigation, and will happen here. The headline…
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PREPA Extends Liability Immunity to Manufacturers of Component Parts and Suppliers of Raw Material Suppliers Used in COVID-19 Countermeasures

With the COVID-19 outbreak spreading across the globe, there is a shortage of critical medical supplies such as ventilators, test kits, and personal protective equipment (PPE). Component part manufacturers and raw material suppliers have scaled up production to help medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturers eliminate critical shortages. Components and raw materials are also being supplied to non-medical companies like General Motors, Tesla, and Dyson, who have repurposed their factories to make unfamiliar products like ventilators and face shields. To head off the inevitable wave of…
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COVID-19 and the Heeding Presumption

Much has been written about the so-called “heeding presumption,” which allows a fact-finder to presume, in a failure-to-warn case, that a plaintiff would have heeded an adequate warning if one had been provided. When applied, the heeding presumption obviates the need for the plaintiff to introduce evidence to prove that she or he would have followed the warning that the defendant is alleged to have failed to give. Life science companies and the attorneys who defend them in failure-to-warn cases are well-acquainted with this doctrine…
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What are the Reported Risks with Disinfectants Containing Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (QACs or quats)?

You may recall our recent post “Are We Going to Clean Ourselves Sick” where we discussed the increased use of cleaning and disinfecting products along with the rise in exposures reported to the National Poison Data System. We also discussed a Consumer Reports article warning of some risks reportedly associated with Quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs or quats). Sanitizing and disinfecting agents seem to be in greater demand these days than ever before—at least more than this author can ever recall. This is evidenced…
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