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Archive for September, 2010

New law aimed at safer driving in Mass effective today

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

As you may be aware, The Safe Driving Law becomes effective in Massachusetts today. The law has a number of components with the major distinctions being: All junior drivers, under 18, may not use cell phones while they drive at all. Text messaging for all drivers in Massachusetts is also no longer legal and has a series of fines and penalties attached. Cell usage for drivers 18 or older is permitted but only if properly used (at least one hand on the wheel at all times and no use of device can impair with the driving). Drivers over 75 years of age or older must renew their license in person and undergo a vision test ever 5 years. Additional details on the laws and the fines is available at www.massdot.state.ma.us/RMV/SafeDrivingLawSummary.aspx.

Categories: Property & Casualty

Beware of bed bugs

September 28, 2010 1 comment

Bed bugs are back and are no longer just found in beds. These pests are now making their way into workplaces and other public spaces. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, infestations in the U.S. have tripled since 2005, and a recent survey of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) found that 1 in 10 of those responding reported bed bugs in a commercial property.

Why the resurgence? Some say it’s due to increase in international travel and changes in pest control practices, including the use of bug pesticides that are less effective than DDT. For more information on how to properly identify a bed bug problem and how to treat it, check out WGA’s new white paper on the subject – Bed Bugs 101.

Strike 2 for Massachusetts Healthcare Reform

September 27, 2010 Leave a comment

What is it about the cost drivers of healthcare in Massachusetts that the Governor and the Legislator do not understand? Health insurance company costs make up 10% of the cost of care and have been under a microscope at both the national and state level. Meanwhile, provider and hospital costs, which account for the 90% of cost of healthcare, continues to escalate at alarming rates, all the while unchecked by health reform initiatives. Massachusetts has once again missed an opportunity to try to control provider pricing with new legislation aimed at local insurers and only marginal initiatives focused on through costs of healthcare. Read more…

Drug rationing discussed in New England Journal of Medicine

September 23, 2010 Leave a comment

A report in the New York Times reviewed a position in the New England Journal of Medicine it called “unusual” – arguing two sides of a medical point in one issue. The study in question was about a new blood thinning medicine which was proven to be effective but at significant cost. It would make a difference to one person in 88 at a cost of $180,000 for those 88 persons. The improvement in outcome did not save lives but rather prevented great though temporary pain in one person.

This type of analysis is likely to increase as the federal government, and those who feed the debate like the New England Journal of Medicine, will look more and more to cost effectiveness. This is not a new issue in other Western countries that routinely review new drugs for these efficiencies. But, in the United States, this is often viewed as health care “rationing”, putting limits on individual freedom to receive all of the health care that they want from their providers, drug makers and health insurers.

 

Tracking mobile cookies is now attracting law suits

September 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal reported on a rash of new litigation filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against “cookies”, the ubiquitous markers of our electronic activity. The lawsuits claim that, despite earlier rulings that allow internet sites to place these small text files on users’ computers, that newer versions of this technology result in online tracking that violates privacy and data security standards. The lawsuits, which seek class action status, accuse companies of violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and similar laws. The suits name Cable News Network (CNN), Travel Channel and other large media organizations as defendants. Read more…

Allergan pleads guilty and agrees to pay $600 million to settle charges that it marketed Botox for off-label uses

September 9, 2010 Leave a comment

According to the Department of Justice, Allergan made it a “top corporate priority” to maximize sales of Botox for off-label uses by employing illegal marketing tactics. Those tactics included 1) calling on providers who typically treated patients with Botox for off-label conditions, 2) conducting workshops on how to bill for off-label uses of Botox and 3) operating a hotline that provided free on-demand services to doctors for off-label uses. In addition, Allergan lobbied government health care programs to expand coverage for off-label uses, officials said.

Pharmaceutical companies should be aware of the fact that bodily injury claims resulting from off-label promotion may not be covered by their Product Liability insurance. Read more…

Software’s End User Licensing Agreements on trial

September 7, 2010 Leave a comment

Everyone has experienced the software End User Licensing Agreement (EULA) when downloading something new. They go on for pages of very small print and are unintelligible even if they were not so long. We all simply click “Agree” and move on to hopefully nothing more painful. EULAs are mostly meant as a deterrent against undue litigation and patent infringement from users. However, a federal judge in Hawaii ruled that despite the use of a EULA, a suit could proceed against software maker, NCSoft, for harms allegedly incurred by a user while playing the “Lineage II” online game. In the past, these cases have been routinely dismissed in the earliest stages mostly due to EULA defenses. Read more…