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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently granted final approval of a new brand of a chemotherapy drug already in use by oncologists to treat malignant pleural mesothelioma and advanced stage non small cell lung cancer. Starting in February 2020, doctors will be allowed to prescribe Pemfexy, a type of chemotherapy drug called pemetrexed, and provide an alternative treatment to the name brand drug Alimta.

The new chemotherapy works as an injection, which is combined with cisplatin for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma whose disease is unresectable or who are otherwise ineligible for curative surgery in combination with cisplatin. This new type of pemetrexed injection was already tentatively approved for use by the FDA in 2017 after the agency determined that the drug met all required quality, safety, and efficacy standards.

However, patients in the United States were not eligible to receive the treatment because the company that holds the patent for the standard pemetrexed treatment held patent protections on the product. Now, with a settlement agreement between the two sides, Eagle pharmaceuticals will be able to bring limited supplies of Pemfexy beginning in February 2020 and uncapped entry in April 2020.

Johnson & Johnson recently agreed to a tentative settlement in a Connecticut talcum powder asbestos cancer lawsuit brought by a plaintiff who claims he developed cancer as a result of decades of using talc-based products produced by the company. The settlement is a rare move on the part of the pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant, which has taken the position to aggressively fight asbestos cancer lawsuits alleging its talcum powder products were the cause of various forms of cancer, including mesothelioma.

According to the talcum powder asbestos cancer lawsuit, filed in Superior Court of Bridgeport, the plaintiff claims he developed mesothelioma cancer as a result of exposure to asbestos fibers in Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder. The mesothelioma cancer lawsuit also named other defendants that manufactured or sold products contaminated with asbestos which were contributing factors in his mesothelioma diagnosis.

Johnson & Johnson had previously attempted to have itself removed from the lawsuit and its part of the case remanded to a federal court after its long-time talc supplier Imerys Talc USA and co-defendant in the case filed for bankruptcy. That action, which has been a strategy of Johnson & Johnson to remove itself from state courts, was unsuccessful, and the company was forced to remain enjoined with the other defendants named in the lawsuit.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam recently signed into law legislation passed by the state legislature which extends the deadlines for which asbestos cancer victims have to file lawsuits against companies they believe are responsible for their diagnosis. House Bill 781 passed unanimously through the House and Senate and will circumvent a decision from the Virginia Supreme Court that ruled the statute of limitations begins on the first diagnosis of any condition related to asbestos exposure.

That ruling from the Virginia Supreme Court came in 2013 from the state’s Third Circuit Court of Appeals. In that case, Kiser v. A.W. Chesterton, the Court was asked to determine whether the statute of limitations in an asbestos cancer lawsuit begins at the time of a mesothelioma diagnosis or, as in this case, when a doctor makes a separate diagnosis of a non-mesothelioma cancer diagnosis. Virginia, like other states, has various laws on statutes of limitations as they apply to injury claims and the time periods in which they can be filed.

In Kiser, the plaintiff sued numerous asbestos manufacturers and distributors in 1988 for damages related to the nonmalignant pleural thickening of his lungs, as well as asbestosis. 20 years later, the plaintiff was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of lung cancer directly linked to asbestos exposure. Sadly, the plaintiff passed away from his mesothelioma cancer just three months after receiving his diagnosis, and his family filed a wrongful death lawsuit on his behalf in 2010 against another group of defendants not named in the 1988 lawsuit.

Pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson recently agreed to a settlement in a talcum powder asbestos cancer lawsuit brought by a woman who claims her rare form of cancer was caused by decades of using the company’s cosmetics products. While the terms of the settlement were not immediately clear, the resolution is nonetheless significant because Johnson & Johnson has settled very few lawsuits brought by plaintiffs alleging similar claims against the company.

According to the talcum powder asbestos cancer lawsuit, filed in a Manhattan New York Supreme Court, the 62-year-old plaintiff developed mesothelioma from decades of using Johnson & Johnson’s iconic Baby Powder product. The plaintiff claimed she developed mesothelioma from carcinogenic asbestos fibers contained within the talcum powder and that Johnson & Johnson knew for years about the risk of contamination in its talc-based products but provided no warning to consumers.

The settlement was reached in the judge’s chambers just before attorneys for both sides were to commence with their opening statements in the trial. Thus far, Johnson & Johnson has chosen to litigate and defend to trial most of the talcum powder cancer lawsuits brought against it in state courts across the country and has chosen to resolve very few before or during trial. Many of those trials have resulted in significant verdicts on behalf of the plaintiffs who claimed they developed various forms of cancer, including mesothelioma, from years of using talc-based products, like Baby Powder and Shower to Shower, contaminated with asbestos fibers.

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