What We're Reading: Juul Faces Whistleblower Claims; Zolgensma Trial Halted; Louisiana Air Quality Worsening

October 31, 2019
AJMC Staff
AJMC Staff

A lawsuit filed by a former executive of Juul claims they knowingly sold 1 million contaminated pods; Novartis trial for its Zolgensma gene therapy stopped amid safety concerns; charts show worsening air quality in Louisiana.

Lawsuit Alleges Juul of Knowingly Selling 1 Million Contaminated Pods

Novartis Zolgensma Trial Halted Over Safety Concerns

Louisiana Air Quality Worsening Due to Chemical Industry, Report Says

A lawsuit filed by a former executive of the e-cigarette manufacturer Juul Labs alleges the company knowingly shipped 1 million contaminated pods to retailers and refused to warn or recall the products, according to The Hill. Siddharth Breja, who was Juul’s senior vice president of global finance in 2018 and 2019, is suing the company for damages after he claims he was fired for being a whistleblower. The claims provide possible links to the rise in vaping-related lung illnesses occurring this year.Novartis AG halted its clinical STRONG trial of its Zolgensma gene therapy after a separate study on animals raised concerns of possible side effects, according to Reuters. The side effects potentially linked to the treatment, approved for pediatrics patients up to age 2, were reported by Novartis to health authorities, which included dorsal root ganglia mononuclear cell inflammation, a neurological condition that can be accompanied by nerve damage or loss. The announcement serves as a setback for the drugmaker, which was to test the treatment, at a higher dose, in children up to age 5 with spinal muscular atrophy.In a report published by ProPublica, 3 charts showed the growing effect of the chemical industry on worsening conditions of air quality in Louisiana. The growth of the chemical industry in Louisiana is especially concerning as toxic levels of cancer-causing chemicals in the air continues to grow. One region in particular, nicknamed "Cancer Alley," has recently been approved by Louisiana for build new chemical plants in an already toxic area. Air quality has been improving in the United States, but progress in Louisiana has stalled.