What We're Reading: Drug Makers File Incomplete Side Effects Reports

What we're reading: drug makers are not reporting complete information about side effects; Johnson & Johnson will pay $72 million to the family of a woman who blamed her ovarian cancer on talcum powder; and Maine and Utah make new attempts at expanding Medicaid.

Drug makers are reporting incomplete information about side effects patients may suffer, according to a new analysis. STAT reported that compared with the side effects reports that physicians and consumers voluntarily report, drug makers usually fail to include key data. In 2014, drug makers filed 95.3% of the side effect reports received by the FDA, but most were incomplete and lacked information about the patient’s sex and age or the date when the problem occurred.

A women who blamed her ovarian cancer on Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder has won her case in St. Louis. Bloomberg Business reported that the company will pay $10 million in compensatory damages and $62 million in a punishment award to the family—the woman died of her ovarian cancer last year. Johnson & Johnson faces about 1200 suits claiming its Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower products are linked to ovarian cancer as women contend the company knew the risks for years but failed to warn customers.

There are new pushes for Medicaid expansion in 2 states. In Maine, a Republican-backed effort to expand Medicaid to 70,000 residents is the sixth attempt in just a few years. The plan relies on $6 million in state money and $420 million in federal matching funds, according to Maine Public Radio. Meanwhile in Utah, a bill allowing full Medicaid expansion has passed the Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee and will now go to the full Senate. However, the bill will face a tough battle and some amendments may need to be made to get the legislation passed, reported the Salt Lake Tribune.