Tuesday, February 26, 2019


We update our meetings regularly on the Town Hall Meeting Calendar:

March 23, 2019
Portland, Oregon
Contact: Steve Carr

April 13, 2019
Waverly, Iowa
Contact: Lyman and Cindy Campbell 319-230-4375
Maynard Kaderlik 507-581-6402

April 26 - 27, 2019
Deadwood, South Dakota
Contact: Jack Dean 605-393-0444
Martin Anderson 605-645-0055
Maynard Kaderlik 507-581-6402

Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’ in Drinking Water Leave Military Families Reeling

FOUNTAIN, Colo. — When Army Staff Sgt. Samuel Fortune returned from Iraq, his body battered by war, he assumed he’d be safe.
Then the people around him began to get sick. His neighbors, all living near five military bases, complained of tumors, thyroid problems and debilitating fatigue. Soon, the Colorado health department announced an unusually high number of kidney cancers in the region. Then Mr. Fortune’s wife fell ill.
The military, it turned out, had been leaching toxic chemicals into the water for decades.
Mr. Fortune felt “stabbed in the back,” he said. “We give our lives and our bodies for our country, and our government does not live up to their end of the deal.”
That was 2016. Since then, the Defense Department has admitted that it allowed a firefighting foam to slip into at least 55 drinking water systems at military bases around the globe, sometimes for generations. This exposed tens of thousands of Americans, possibly many more, to per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a group of man-made chemicals known as PFAS that have been linked to cancers, immune suppression and other serious health problems.
Though the presence of the chemicals has been known for years, an announcement last week from the Environmental Protection Agency for the first time promised regulatory action, a significant acknowledgment of the startling scope of the problem that drew outrage from veterans and others living in contaminated communities.
Acting administrator Andrew Wheeler said that the agency would begin the process of potentially limiting the presence of two of the compounds in drinking water, calling this a “pivotal moment in the history of the agency.”

Friday, February 22, 2019



New Jersey Said 10 Years Ago It Would Rank Its Most Contaminated Sites. It Never Did.

The rankings were supposed to ensure that the most dangerous sites remained a priority even as the state gave private companies a bigger role in cleanups. Today, there are nearly 14,000 contamination sites across New Jersey and still no sign of the mandated rankings.
For decades, New Jersey’s chemical plants, textile mills and metal factories helped power America.
That came at a price.
Byproducts like dioxin from the manufacture of the herbicide Agent Orange fouled the Passaic River, making fish and crab toxic. Dye and paint companies dumped waste in illegal landfills in Toms River, polluting the groundwater for decades. Carcinogenic vapors migrated to homes from Pompton Lakes factories making war ammunition and nonstick pans.
New Jersey eventually passed some of the strongest environmental laws in the country, including the precursor to the federal Superfund law, and the state has made strides in cleaning up contamination.
But don’t ask what the state’s priorities are.
A decade after legislators mandated that the Department of Environmental Protection rank every contaminated site in order of urgency and severity, the agency has yet to act.

Military Veterans Advocacy: Agent Orange effects go beyond Vietnam

While a battle rages over whether the VA should provide benefits to Blue Water Navy vets who served off the coast of Vietnam and were effected by Agent Orange, another fight over the effects of the chemical exfoliant is centered on the U.S. territory of
Guam. The exposure to service members stationed on the tiny Pacific island, which is home to large Navy and Air Force installations, is a growing concern to some veterans groups.
While Guam isn't the first place the public thinks of in regards to Agent Orange exposure, the chemical was used on the island, and stored there, for many years. Recent efforts by Congress to address the issue have failed, including a 2017 effort led by Florida Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL). But according to retired Air Force Colonel Rob Maness, Chief of Staff for Military Veterans Advocacy (MVA),  recent tests have shown the dioxin contamination levels found on the island are significant and can't be pushed aside.
MVA says, much like the Blue Water Navy issue, the VA is pushing back on providing benefits to those who were affected, but Maness says the advocacy group is pushing for new legislation that will take aim at the problem of toxic exposure on Guam. It's a personal matter to the retired Colonel, who spent six months at Guam's Andersen Air Force Base in 2003 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and believes his unit may have been effected by the high dioxin levels.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Sailors pitch in to build classrooms

Sailors of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) are being hailed for their humanitarian efforts in Vietnam last fall that included the revitalization of a centre for Agent Orange victims.
On Sept. 27, 2018, 24 sailors from HMCS Calgary and Naval Replenishment Unit (NRU) Asterix got the ball rolling on an extensive revitalization project at Social Welfare Centre No. 3 for Agent Orange and Disadvantaged Children. The work included cleaning, painting, providing new furniture and toys, and teaching equipment for the centre located in Vietnam’s coastal city of Da Nang.
Colonel Jeff Drummond, Canadian Defence Attaché Singapore/Cambodia/Vietnam, facilitated the port visit to Da Nang by HMCS Calgary and Asterix, who were at the time deployed on Operation Projection. He acted as an intermediary between the sailors and centre to determine the scope and tasking of the project. Upon further discussion with the Director, Col Drummond realized there was more work to do: build additional classrooms for the children.
He had a conversation with Calgary’s Operation Chief, Chief Petty Officer Second Class Line Laurendeau that resulted in a quick solution. CPO2 Laurendeau, who supervised the ship’s outreach programs, offered up money to pay for supplies to build the classrooms from the ship’s Boomer’s Legacy funds. She then met with the Director and staff and helped them purchase the required building materials, while the centre arranged for contractors to perform the work.
In January, the centre held an inauguration ceremony for the new classrooms, which was attended by school officials, the Canadian Ambassador to Vietnam Deborah Paul and embassy staff members. A plaque above the entrance to the classrooms unveiled at the ceremony pays tribute to sailors of the RCN and Boomers Legacy.

Vietnam to relocate 300 residents near US air base for dioxin cleanup

75 families living near the Bien Hoa military airport, former American airbase and dioxin hotspot, will be resettled for cleanup work.
Dong Nai Province, where the dioxin hotspot is located, is expected to implement the relocation plan involving 300 people this summer.
"We have got the resettlement area ready and will start moving local households in June," said Vo Van Chanh, the province’s deputy chairman.
The dioxin-infected land will be transferred to those in charge of the cleaning work early next year, he said.
Visiting the site Friday, Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich said Vietnam should call for more financial aid and boost the cleaning process.
Just 30 km (around 20 miles) from Ho Chi Minh City, Bien Hoa airport was a U.S. air force base during the Vietnam War (1955-1975).
The airport is believed to be the largest dioxin hotspot in Vietnam. Studies have found that more than 500,000 cubic meters of land at the airport, which Vietnam uses for military purposes, needs to be detoxified.

Parkinson's Researchers, Michael J. Fox Foundation Propose New Roadmap for Trials

A new roadmap for preclinical and clinical trials investigating compounds to treat and prevent Parkinson’s disease was proposed by a team of international academic and industry researchers, the Alpha-Synuclein Clinical Path Working Group, in conjunction with the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
The article, “A Proposed Roadmap for Parkinson’s Disease Proof of Concept Clinical Trials Investigating Compounds Targeting Alpha-Synuclein,” was published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease.
A global effort is underway to find interventional molecules that slow or stop Parkinson’s progression. These potential therapeutics focus on targeting the protein alpha-synuclein, a component of abnormal clumps — Lewy bodies — that are the pathological hallmark of Parkinson’s disease.
“With alpha-synuclein undoubtedly playing some role in Parkinson’s disease pathogenesis, and there being such a diverse portfolio of experimental therapies that target the protein, one can be optimistic and hope that one of the approaches will eventually be successful in slowing disease progression,” Patrik Brundin, MD, PhD, from the Van Andel Research Institute, Grand Rapids, Michigan, said in a press release.
In 2017, The Michael J. Fox Foundation convened the Alpha-Synuclein Clinical Path Working Group, made up of leaders in Parkinson’s research from academia and industry. This international group set out to expedite the discovery and development of therapeutics with recommendations on research and development for alpha-synuclein targeting therapies.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Medical Marijuana and Its Use Focus of March Meeting Set by Parkinson’s Foundation

With the goal of establishing a consensus on medical marijuana use by Parkinson’s patients — which a recent survey co-sponsored by the Parkinson’s Foundation put at 80 percent — the group will host its first conference focused on this compound and the disease.
Set for March 6-7 in Denver, the invitation-only meeting will include a mix of experts from academia, healthcare, government, and the private sector to consider the implications and make recommendations for the use of medical marijuana by patients. Parkinson’s advocates, who are patients, will also attend.
“Now that medical marijuana is legal in 33 states and in many other countries, people are equating access to efficacy,”  James Beck, the Foundation’s chief scientific officer, said in a news release. “It is imperative that we address the clinical implications of medical marijuana use among people with PD [Parkinson’s disease].”
Specifically, attendees will discuss both the perceived benefits and hazards of marijuana use in treating Parkinson’s symptoms, in addition to safety issues, potential delivery means, possible sanction as a therapeutic, and areas for more scientific investigation.
Following the meeting, the Foundation will issue suggested practices and highlight areas where more research is needed.
“Having worked as a clinician for the past decade in Colorado, a state at the forefront of medical marijuana use, it is clear that people with PD and their families are intensely interested in the potential of marijuana and cannabinoids in helping manage symptoms and other aspects of their disease,” said Benzi Kluger, associate professor of University of Colorado Hospital and a conference co-chair.
“To date, there is more hype than actual data to provide meaningful clinical information to patients with PD. There is a critical need to analyze existing data on medical marijuana and to set priorities for future research.”

HR 566 - ‘‘Agent Orange Exposure Fairness Act’’ of 2019

NSU researchers investigate potential “Gulf War Illness”

In September 2018, the United States Department of Defense awarded an $8.5 million grant to an NSU research team led by primary investigator, Nancy Klimas, to establish a National Clinical Trials and Interventions Consortium. This particular grant facilitates the continued research of potential Gulf War Illness or GWI through the Gulf War Illness Clinical Trials and Interventions Consortium (GWICTIC).
“The consortium consists of an NSU based operation center led by Klimas who directs the NSU’s Institute for Neuro-Immune Medicine or INIM and is a recognized expert worldwide in complex conditions that include GWI, myalgic encephalomyelitis or chronic fatigue syndrome. Klimas also manages a GWI speciality clinic at the Miami VA and the VA’s environmental medicine clinic and research program,” said Amanpreet Cheema, administrative director of GWICTIC.
There are a few collaborators of this consortium that include NSU’s INIM, Miami VA, Boston University, RTI International, Bronx VAMC, New Jersey War Related Illness and Injury Study Center (WRIISC) and the California U.S Department of Veterans Affairs WRIISC.
According to Jimmy Arocho, research associate for INIM and Gulf War veteran of the 101 airborne air-assault division, GWI is a unique condition that was introduced to U.S. service members after returning from the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf War, or the Desert Shield and Desert Storm campaigns.This condition affects veterans and civilians who were exposed to a number of hazardous materials during these campaigns. 
“During the Vietnam-era we had Agent Orange and in the Gulf War-era we have a collection of challenges that can stem anywhere from pesticides, organophosphates, ferin on the battlefield and prophylactic medicines taken to protect [service members] from nerve gas exposure,” said Arocho.

Lawmakers move to end 'barbaric' dog experiments at the VA

The agency's inspector general will review the testing program after questions about whether it was properly authorized. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie has said that experiments on dogs sometimes involve "critical research" on traumatic spinal cord injuries to veterans.
The Department of Veteran Affairs' inspector general is reviewing whether the agency flouted regulations on dog experimentation, as a new bill was introduced to outlaw the often-gruesome testing.
In a letter to a bipartisan group of lawmakers, VA Inspector General Michael Missal said his office will probe whether nine ongoing dog studies were being carried out in violation of a law signed by President Donald Trump last year. That law said the VA secretary had to sign off on any such procedures, which animal advocates and members of Congress say are painful and unnecessary. The IG's letter was first reported by Stars and Stripes.
"We welcome the oversight from the inspector general," VA press secretary Curt Cashour said.
The VA maintains former Secretary David Shulkin verbally signed off on the experiments on the day he was fired by the president, but Shulkin has denied that claim. He told USA Today in November that he "wasn't asked, nor did I request a review for an approval" of the dog experiments.
In a letter last year to Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., current Secretary Robert Wilkie said the experiments include "critical research to investigate how to restore the ability of Veterans with traumatic spinal cord injuries to breathe properly and avoid repeated bouts of pneumonia and early death."
The current experiments include forced heart attack experiments at a veterans' center in Richmond, Virginia, and tests involving damaging dogs' spinal cords and collapsing their lungs in Cleveland in an effort to see how their cough reflexes respond to electrode treatments, according to the White Coat Waste Project, an animal advocacy group. A past VA experiment involved drilling into live dogs' skulls.

Common weed killer glyphosate increases cancer risk by 41%, study says

(CNN) Glyphosate, an herbicide that remains the world's most ubiquitous weed killer, raises the cancer risk of those exposed to it by 41%, a new analysis says.
Researchers from the University of Washington evaluated existing studies into the chemical -- found in weed killers including Monsanto's popular Roundup -- and concluded that it significantly increases the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), a cancer of the immune system.
"All of the meta-analyses conducted to date, including our own, consistently report the same key finding: exposure to GBHs (glyphosate-based herbicides) are associated with an increased risk of NHL," the authors wrote in a study published in the journal Mutation Research.
The potential carcinogenic properties of glyphosate are the subject of widespread scientific debate. The US Environmental Protection Agency said in a 2017 draft risk assessment that the herbicide "is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans," while the European Food Safety Authority maintains a similar stance. Bayer, which acquired Monsanto in 2018, said the same year that glyphosate is a "safe and efficient weed control tool."
In 2015, however, the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans." Moreover, the chemical has triggered multiple lawsuits from people who believe that exposure to the herbicide caused their non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. In 2017, CNN reported that more than 800 people were suing Monsanto; by the following year, that figure was in the thousands.
One high-profile case against Monsanto was that of Dewayne Johnson, a former school groundskeeper diagnosed with terminal non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2014. In August 2018, a judge ordered Monsanto to pay Johnson $289 million in damages, an award subsequently reduced to approximately $78 million after Monsanto appealed.

Congress Poised to Help Veterans Exposed to ‘Burn Pits’ Over Decades of War

WASHINGTON — Everywhere he went in Iraq during his yearlong deployment, Ryne Robinson saw the burning trash pits. Sometimes, like in Ramadi, they were as large as a municipal dump, filled with abandoned or destroyed military vehicles, synthetic piping and discarded combat meals. Sometimes he tossed garbage on them himself.
“The smell was horrendous,” said Mr. Robinson, who was in Iraq from 2006 to 2007.
About nine years after returning home to Indiana, where he worked as a corrections officer, he began to suffer headaches and other health problems, which doctors attributed to post-traumatic stress. After having a seizure while driving on Christmas Day last year, though, he was told he had glioblastoma, an aggressive brain tumor.
Of the ailments endured by the newest generation of veterans — post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries, lost limbs and more — among the least understood are those possibly related to exposure to toxic substances in Iraq and Afghanistan, especially from those fires known as burn pits.
Now, with the largest freshman class of veteran lawmakers in a decade, Congress appears determined to lift the issue of burn pits from obscure medical journals and veterans’ websites to the floors and hearing rooms of Capitol Hill. Members are vowing to force the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs to deal with the issue.

Monday, February 11, 2019

from a sick Guam Vet

Link To Report with documented proof: 

Use the link to the documents, Then open pdf-1 first, That is the GAO report, I have added yellow text boxes in the margins. Most comments are backed up by government documents. There are end notes making references to the documents pdf-1 thru pdf-27. I know this way of laying things out is unusual but this subject is so big I tried to make it easier to absorb. Feel free to share this info with anybody you want.

I would suggest down loading everything to a flash drive for obvious reasons. 

Sick Guam Vet

The Fine for Scamming U.S. Veterans Out of Their Pensions Is Now $1

There's all kinds of nonsense going on in the federal government right now because that's the way the folks at Camp Runamuck want things to be. The agencies that haven't been gutted or deliberately understaffed are working in Bizarro World where
they are doing the exact opposite of what they were designed to do. First among these is the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, Senator Professor Warren's brainchild that was designed to claw back the ill-gotten gains of big banks and credit-card companies. That agency, of course, has been repurposed to swindle the people it was designed to help.
A dollar. It's the Duke Brothers philosophy of criminal justice reform. Try it yourself next time you go to traffic court. Tell the judge you can't afford the fine for going 80 in a 40. See how well it works.
On websites he operated, Mark Corbett marketed a deal for veterans with retiree or disability pensions. He set them up with offers from the Doe companies to purchase some or all of those future pension payments in exchange for a lump sum. Veterans would then use an online portal to redirect pension payments to a bank account controlled by one of the Doe companies. If veterans only sold part of their pension, the Doe companies would reimburse a portion of the payment every month. This was virtually the only source of the Doe companies’ consumer-side business revenue. It’s also completely illegal.

Embattled VA Health Care System May Merge With Pentagon’s

The Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs may be considering merging parts of their two health care programs in a move that could alter how about 19 million military personnel, retirees, dependents and veterans receive care.
In an announcement released Jan. 31, the Defense Health Agency said that an initiative known as DOD VA Health Care Staffing Services has reached the “strategy development stage.” The effort is designed to merge the delivery of health care using facilities run by both agencies to serve the two populations of beneficiaries in a combined fashion, according to veterans’ advocates.
“The idea in itself makes sense,” said Pat Murray, Deputy Director of the National Legislative Service for Veterans of Foreign Wars. “But it’s going to be a lot harder than I think they understand.”

Agent Orange Use on Guam

For decades, concerns from the citizens of Guam as well as many United States military veterans have circulated about the reported use of the toxic herbicide Agent Orange on the island. Now, the United States federal government has begun to address the issue for the first time since a class action lawsuit was filed in 1979. Sampling of the soil at multiple subsites across Guam starting in spring of 2018, resulted in inconclusive findings. A new series of tests are currently underway, results are expected to be announced soon.
The recent attention to concerns of toxic herbicides like Agent Orange can largely be attributed to Master Sergeant Leroy Foster, who has testified to spraying tens of thousands of gallons over Guam in deforestation operations. Foster states that his exposure to Agent Orange has caused him various diseases, including as well as cancer. Foster is not the only veteran who has made similar claims regarding his exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. The previously mentioned class action lawsuit brought against the US government resulted in a $180 million payout, spread across thousands of veterans who had been exposed to the herbicide.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Alfred Procopio, Jr., v. Robert Wilkie: What Does This Mean for You?

Alfred Procopio, Jr., v. Robert Wilkie: What Does This Mean for You?

February 6, 2019
No. 19-4
Mokie Porter

Alfred Procopio, Jr., v. Robert Wilkie: What Does This Mean for You?
(Washington, D.C.)--On January 29, in a 9-2 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in favor of the veteran in Alfred Procopio, Jr., v. Robert Wilkie, finding the intent of Congress in the Agent Orange Act of 1991 was to extend benefits to all veterans who served within the territorial waters of Vietnam, 12 nautical miles from shore.

The VA has 90 days from the Court's ruling to appeal this decision to the Supreme Court; and VA Secretary Wilkie has yet to announce how it plans to respond.

In the meantime, VVA recommends those veterans who think they may have served on a vessel in Vietnam's territorial waters reach out to their local Veterans Service Officer to file VA Form 21-0966, Intent to File a Claim. If VVA is your representative, please go to Service Officer Locator on www.vva.org to find your local representative. If you do not wish to work with a service officer, you may fill out the VA Form 21-0966 form and submit it to the VA.

We recommend Blue Water Navy veterans submit the VA Form 21-0966 if they have never filed an Agent Orange claim or if they have been denied an Agent Orange claim. If you are a spouse of a Blue Water Navy veteran who died from an Agent Orange-related illness, we recommend you also file a VA Form 21-0966.

By submitting VA Form 21-0966, you preserve your effective date. You have one year from the day you submitted your VA Form 21-0966 to submit your claim for benefits. By submitting this form, you will be putting yourself in the best possible position while waiting to see how the VA responds to the Court's decision.

To help your claim's success, we recommend you start gathering evidence such as deck logs, service records, or anything else that could help prove the location of your vessel. We will keep you updated on suggested next steps as we continue to learn more information.

Mokie Pratt Porter
Director of Communications
Vietnam Veterans of America
8719 Colesville Road,
Suite 100
Silver Spring, Maryland 20912
301-585-4000 x146

Veterans Affairs may finally cover Agent Orange illnesses for Vietnam Navy vets

HAGERSTOWN, Md. — In a 9-2 decision on Procopio v. Wilkie, the court said those who served offshore in Vietnam should receive the same benefits as those who had "boots on the ground."
 “It means that about 70,000 veterans potentially could be covered. Unfortunately about 20,000 have died during this process," said Military Veterans Advocacy Executive Director, John Wells.
One vet who would technically soon be covered (as soon as Veterans Affairs agrees on regulations) is Joe Lolley.
Lolley's story started innocently enough.
At 18, he was bright-eyed and eager to join the military, like pretty much everyone else he knew in town.
“Getting to see the world for a kid from south Alabama, it was a great thing," said Lolley.
What turned out not to be such a great thing are the lasting effects of Agent Orange that have completely changed this "blue water" Navy vet's life.
Lolley suffered a heart attack at the age of 48.
He had a severe acne condition on his chest when he returned to the states in '74.
He's undergone four prostate surgeries, has hypertension, peripheral neuropathy, diabetes--to name a handful.

War claims bill on the horizon

A bill that would provide language needed for the release of reparations checks to Guam's World War II survivors could be introduced in the next few days.
“We’re going to be scrubbing this, making sure it’s going to meet the need ... to move forward the legislative process,” Del. Michael San Nicolas said during his first Facebook live update Wednesday morning Guam time.
San Nicolas said his office will review the language provided by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and try to introduce legislation “by the end of the week.”
San Nicolas said he’ll work with fellow lawmakers on the Appropriations Committee, and Financial Services Committee, which has oversight on the Treasury. Language was left out of the World War II Loyalty Recognition Act preventing the Treasury from writing and issuing checks to claimants whose claims already have been adjudicated and certified for payment.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Neonicotinoids: risks to bees confirmed

Most uses of neonicotinoid pesticides represent a risk to wild bees and honeybees, according to assessments published today by EFSA. The Authority has updated its risk assessments of three neonicotinoids – clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam – that are currently subject to restrictions in the EU because of the threat they pose to bees.
These new conclusions update those published in 2013, after which the European Commission imposed controls on use of the substances.
For the new assessments, which this time cover wild bees – bumblebees and solitary bees – as well as honeybees, EFSA’s Pesticides Unit carried out an extensive data collection exercise, including a systematic literature review, to gather all the scientific evidence published since the previous evaluations.
The team also applied the guidance document developed by EFSA specifically for the risk assessment of pesticides and bees.
Jose Tarazona, Head of EFSA’s Pesticides Unit, said: “The availability of such a substantial amount of data as well as the guidance has enabled us to produce very detailed conclusions.

And the Hits Just Keep Coming: More Bad News for Monsanto

In a few weeks, Monsanto will go on trial again. And when it does, the pesticide-maker won’t be able to suppress evidence that the company ghostwrote scientific studies and otherwise tried to influence scientists and regulators in an attempt to hide the potential health risks of its flagship product, Roundup weedkiller.
This week, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria, the federal judge in San Francisco overseeing 620 cases involving Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller and cancer victims, ruled that the evidence could be introduced in the upcoming trial. According to a Reuters report, Chhabria said the documents were “super relevant.”
Chhabria’s ruling almost guarantees that the documents in question will play a role when, on February 25, a jury in San Francisco Federal Court, begins hearing the case of Edwin Hardeman vs. Monsanto. Hardeman alleges that Roundup caused his non-Hodgkin lymphoma cancer.
Hardeman’s case follows the August 10, 2018, $289-million judgment (later reduced to $78 million) awarded to DeWayne “Lee” Johnson, a former school groundskeeper who also sued Monsanto for causing his non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Monsanto’s appeal of the $78-million judgment is still pending.
There are more than 9,000 claims pending against Monsanto in state courts, about 620 awaiting trial in federal court. Reuters reported in November that Hardeman’s case was selected as “a so-called bellwether, or test trial, frequently used in U.S. product liability mass litigation to help both sides gauge the range of damages and define settlement options.”
Bayer CEO Werner Baumann called the lawsuits "nuisances." But the company’s stock took a big hit after the jury sided with Johnson, so shareholders probably aren’t thrilled with Chhabria’s ruling this week.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Year of the Pig

The March to Privatization of the VA - Proposed VA Rules Would Expand Veterans' Access to Private Health Care

The Department of Veterans Affairs today announced proposed rules for determining which veterans would be able to seek medical care in the private sector starting this summer -- their eligibility guidelines based on drive times and appointment waiting periods that could significantly expand the number of veterans seen outside the VA.
The VA Mission Act required the department to consolidate its private-sector care programs into a comprehensive community-care system that will provide veterans access to private health care networks under certain circumstances.
The criteria established by the law included access for veterans who live in a state without a VA medical center, who can’t access needed treatments at the VA, who have special medical needs, or who live more than 40 miles from a VA medical center.
The law also stipulated that veterans who meet certain standards for access to care developed by the VA could opt to use the network instead of going to a VA medical center or clinic.
Those access standards, announced Wednesday by VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, are based on driving times and appointment wait times.