| Read Time: 5 minutes | Car Accident

Examples of Wrongful Death Cases

Losing a loved one is a difficult thing for anybody. Losing a loved one due to someone else’s negligence can be even harder. Lives are cut short every day for many reasons, but losing a loved one in an accident caused by someone else’s negligent actions is especially tragic. When such an event happens, the family of the person who died is entitled to compensation. Wrongful death suits occur when someone who has lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence files a claim against the individual responsible for the death. In 2019 more than 170,000 people lost their lives in the US from accidents or unintentional injuries. In fact, such accidents are the third leading cause of death in the US. While accidents happen in an almost infinite number of different ways, some wrongful death causes are more common than others. Here are some examples of wrongful death causes. Car Accidents There is no way to ignore the fact that driving a vehicle can be dangerous. While many of us may go years without getting into a car accident, others are not so lucky. Many wrongful death lawsuit cases happen each year after fatal car accidents. Generally, if a driver’s negligent actions cause a death on the road, they are liable for the wrongful death.  The number of car accident fatalities each year may surprise you. More than 38,000 people die in car accidents each year. In 2020, while there was less traffic volume than normal due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of vehicle fatalities rose. Some experts say that the increase in fatalities was due, in part, to increased rates of speeding in the US. If a loved one dies after a car accident that someone else negligently causes, you are entitled to compensation through a wrongful death claim. Some of the most common causes of death after car accidents stem from things like: Brain injuries, Neck injuries, and Internal bleeding. The two best things you and your loved ones can do to avoid suffering a fatal injury in a car accident are wearing your seatbelt and avoiding distractions while driving. Defective Products Defective products lead to numerous wrongful death claims each year. Most consumer products producers are responsible for ensuring consumer safety as long as their products are used as intended. Some products are inherently dangerous, but other times, a consumer product can have a fatal defect. For example, a cooking utensil that leaches deadly chemicals into food as it is used as intended can lead to a wrongful death claim against a manufacturer. Similarly, a safety feature in a vehicle that doesn’t work properly, like a seatbelt that comes unbuckled easily in an accident, can easily cause fatal injuries and leave the manufacturer liable for wrongful death claims. Even an inherently dangerous consumer product, such as a gun, comes with an assumption of safety with proper use. A defective part in a gun that causes a chambered round to go off without the user pulling the trigger can easily lead to a wrongful death claim.  When a manufacturer of goods is made aware of a dangerous defect in their product, they are responsible for notifying the public of that defect and recalling any defective products. They are also responsible for replacing those products free of charge. Boeing became responsible for numerous wrongful death claims after a design flaw caused some of their 737 Max commercial aircraft to crash in 2018. Since then, in addition to settling wrongful death claims, Boeing has recalled and replaced all of the affected 737 Max airplanes. If you want to keep track of any consumer product recalls to help ensure your safety, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is the best place to do so. The CPSC website contains a database of all consumer product recalls. You can even subscribe to the CPSC to get a newsletter of product recalls relevant to you. Workplace Accidents Unfortunately, many accidents happen in the workplace. While all employers must provide their employees with a safe workspace, some employers fail to do so. Even an employer who takes all necessary precautions can have a fatal accident occur at their workplace. In addition, some jobs and workspaces are more dangerous than others. For example, a construction site will typically be more dangerous than an average office.  While the vast majority of workplace injuries are nonfatal each year, the number of fatal injuries is still significant. Employers in the US reported 2.8 million nonfatal injuries in 2019. During the same period, however, a total of 5,333 workers died due to workplace injuries. If a loved one dies after a workplace accident, you can file a claim through their employer’s workers’ compensation program. Most employers in the US are required to maintain workers’ compensation insurance. However, if a loved one dies due to negligence by someone other than their employer or coworker, or if the employer did not carry workers’ compensation insurance, you may be able to seek additional compensation through a wrongful death claim. Medical Malpractice Medical malpractice commonly gives rise to wrongful death claims. Medical malpractice is estimated to take roughly 250,000 lives each year. Generally speaking, medical malpractice occurs when an error in medical treatment leads to injury. If the patient dies due to a medical error, their loved ones are entitled to compensation through a medical malpractice wrongful death claim. To file a successful wrongful death claim based on medical malpractice, one must prove that the death was caused by a medical provider’s mistake that amounts to a violation of the medical standard of care. Pedestrian Accidents Another common source of wrongful death claims is pedestrian accidents. Unlike when a car strikes another vehicle, when a car strikes a pedestrian, the pedestrian does not have the protection that a vehicle offers. Thus, a pedestrian receives the full force of impact when a car strikes them. As a result, it is not uncommon for injuries to a pedestrian after being struck by...

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Dangerous Drugs

Increasing Number of Veterans Filing Zantac Lawsuits

January 19, 2021 — Veterans are increasingly filing Zantac lawsuits claiming the drug has caused cancer. The lawsuits allege that the manufacturers knew the active ingredient in Zantac, ranitidine could form a toxic chemical called N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) inside the human stomach, but kept this information from the public.  NDMA is known to cause cancer in animals and may cause cancer in humans. Zantac has been available by prescription and over-the-counter, and it’s been available in the United States since the early 1980s. It treats several disorders caused by too much stomach acid. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration had asked all manufacturers to withdraw Zantac and all ranitidine products from the U.S. market in April 2020 because the drug could expose people to unacceptable levels of NDMA. After the FDA announced the market withdrawal, the Defense Health Agency (DHA) told military health beneficiaries to stop taking Zantac (ranitidine) and look for an alternative stomach acid-reducing medication.  Veterans are more likely to suffer gastrointestinal problems such as such as heartburn, indigestion, acid reflux, gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD) and irritable bowel syndrome, and they are more likely to take gastrointestinal medications. For example, some studies show that veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often have GERD, acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), according to Dr. Jaimie L. Gradus of the National Center for PTSD, VA Boston Healthcare System and colleagues published in Epidemiology. Drugs for GI problems include proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) such as Nexium and Prilosec or H2 blockers such as Zantac. The VA’s blog said that one in six veterans uses PPIs to ease heartburn or acid reflux. They are among the most prescribed medications in the VA.  Lawyers who accept these cases say their veteran clients have been diagnosed with a variety of cancers after using Zantac. Their doctors told them that they had no family history or genetic risks for the disease and that the cause was most likely from an environmental exposure such as Zantac. Many of the veterans who filed Zantac cancer lawsuits took Zantac that had been prescribed at the VA. Cancers potentially linked to Zantac include: Bladder cancer and bladder removal  Breast cancer  Colon cancer  Esophageal cancer Kidney cancer and kidney removal  Liver cancer  Melanoma  Ovarian cancer  Prostate cancer  Stomach cancer Reference: Turner, T., Veterans Increasingly Filing Zantac Lawsuits. Retrieved November 19, 2020, https://www.consumernotice.org/news/veterans-filing-zantac-lawsuits/

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Dangerous Drugs

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Kentucky?

When you lose a loved one due to someone else’s actions, you may experience many emotions. Naturally, you feel grief and anger. You may also wonder how you can achieve justice for your loved one and prevent others from experiencing similar harm. At Gerling Law, we can’t take away your pain. However, we can help you pursue justice. We can help you hold the person who caused your pain accountable for their actions. Our compassionate attorneys have been representing victims and their families for decades. If you would like to speak with one of our knowledgeable lawyers, call anytime for a free consultation. When many clients initially speak with us, they’re not sure if they can sue for their loved one’s death. Here, we provide an overview of who can file a lawsuit for wrongful death and what such legal action involves. What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit? The goal of a wrongful death lawsuit is to compensate the surviving family for the harm they have suffered. Before considering a Kentucky wrongful death lawsuit, you should know what the term actually means. Wrongful death is the death of a person caused by the negligent or wrongful act of another. This wrongful act could be unintentional or purposeful. In other words, someone does not have to intend to kill your loved one for it to be a wrongful death. A person or company might be responsible for your loved one’s death. For instance, if a drunk driver hits your loved one, that individual should be held responsible. However, if a sober driver hit your loved one after her brakes malfunctioned, the auto manufacturer may be liable. Who Can File a Kentucky Wrongful Death Lawsuit? In Kentucky, the personal representative (executor) of the deceased’s estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit. The probate court names a personal representative based on the instructions in the deceased’s will or the preference of the judge. While the personal representative files the wrongful death lawsuit, most of the lawsuit proceeds go to the deceased’s estate and surviving family members. Funeral and burial expenses, as well as attorney fees, go to the estate. But then the remainder of the award goes to the deceased person’s surviving family members. Payment is awarded according to these rules: All to the surviving spouse if there are no surviving children; If there are a surviving spouse and surviving children, half to the spouse and half divided among the children; If there is no surviving spouse, all divided among the children; or  If there is no surviving spouse or children, all to the surviving parents. If there is no surviving spouse, children, or parents, the wrongful death award goes to the estate. After paying debts, the award will be distributed according to the deceased’s will or intestate succession rules. What Damages Are Available? A wrongful death lawsuit compensates family members for the harm they have suffered as a result of their loved one’s death. You can sue for these damages in a wrongful death case: Pain and suffering, Loss of companionship, Loss of support, Loss of care, Funeral and burial expenses, and Attorney fees. You may also be able to request punitive damages for intentional harm or gross negligence. These damages go beyond compensating your family for the harm suffered. Instead, they serve the goal of punishing the person for their wrongful actions. The State may choose to criminally prosecute the defendant, but that is a separate legal action. A criminal prosecution punishes a wrongdoer by taking away their freedom. A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action that will not put the defendant behind bars but seeks to financially compensate your family for the death of your loved one. If you think you might have a Kentucky wrongful death claim, you should contact an experienced attorney. At Gerling Law, we have helped grieving family members with wrongful death claims in Kentucky for decades. We have the experience to get the results you deserve while showing you compassion and respect. Contact our law firm for a free consultation. You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions and get to know our knowledgeable legal team. If we think we can help you, you should know that we work on contingency. This means you owe us nothing until we win your case. Review our decades of winning cases here, and call us when you’re ready to talk. Don’t trust the fight for justice and your family’s financial future with just anyone. Remember: Go with Experience. Go with Gerling.®

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MDL Federal Judge Dismisses Zantac Design Defect Claims Based on Preemption But Allows Repleading

January 11, 2021 – Federal MDL Judge Rosenberg of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida ruled that design defect claims filed against the manufacturers of Zantac (ranitidine) are preempted by federal law because they seek to challenge the drugs’ FDA approved formula. The judge granted the motion by Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer Inc and Boehringer Ingelheim to dismiss all state economic damages claims and all claims alleging design defect. But, the judge granted plaintiffs leave to replead their design defect claims that are based on the drugs’ labeling to file narrower design defect claims, which could include labeling changes the defendants could have made without FDA approval. The judge also dismissed state law claims seeking to recoup monetary losses from buying over-the-counter ranitidine, finding the Congress didn’t intend for any state to classify a claim as a product liability claim when the plaintiff was not personally injured. Reference: Name Brand Drug Cos. Ax Labeling Claims In Zantac MDL.  January 12, 2021, www.law360.com/productliability/articles/1343567/name-brand-drug-cos-ax-labeling-claims-in-zantac-mdl?nl_pk=4ea5443d-d995-4317-90cc-b8209e697bbb&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=productliability

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Timeline of the First Zostavax Trials

July 2021 — The second trial for Group B is scheduled to begin around July 2021. May 2021 — The first trial in the Group B Bellwether Trial is scheduled to begin around May 2021. March 2021 — The third trial for Group A is scheduled to begin around March. Additionally, the court is scheduled to select two cases from Group B that will go to trial by March 2021. November 2020 — The first trial in the Group A Bellwether Trial is scheduled to begin around November 2020.  The amount of cases in the Zostavax MDL is now over 1,800. January 2021 — The second trial for Group A is scheduled to begin around January 2021. May 29, 2020 — 4 cases were to be selected for the Group B Bellwether Trial by May 29, 2020.  The court is scheduled to select two cases that will go to trial by March 2021, and the first trial should begin around May 2021.  The second is scheduled to begin around July 2021. May 15, 2020 — Judge Bartle ordered that the core fact discovery for Group B’s eight selected cases be completed by May 15, 2020. April 2020 — There are estimated to be around 1300 cases already filed in the Zostavax MDL. December 2019 — Judge Bartle has ordered that eight cases from Group B should have been selected to undergo core fact discovery by December 2019. November 29, 2019 — Judge Bartle ordered that after the core fact discovery of the initial sixteen cases from Group A, six will be selected to be a part of Group A’s Bellwether Trial by November 29, 2019. July 2019 — After Merck & Co. refused to turn over records on all “adverse events reports” which could indicate its guilt, plaintiffs filed a motion to compel.  Judge Bartle granted the motion, allowing the plaintiffs their first victory and access to the reports in trial. May 31, 2019 — Judge Bartle has ordered that sixteen cases from Group A should have been selected to undergo core fact discovery by May 31, 2019. August 2018 — A Zostavax Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) was created in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and assigned to the U.S. District Judge Harvey.  This followed a motion by Merck & Co. to consolidate the Zostavax cases pending in federal courts, which the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation approved. 2016 — The first Zostavax lawsuits began to be filed against Merck & Co., claiming that the vaccination caused unforeseen side effects or effects that Merck & Co. failed to warn about. Reference: Miller, Ronald V. “Shingles Lawsuit October 2020 Update: Federal Court Trials on Tap.” Maryland Injury Lawyer Blog, 29 Oct. 2020, www.marylandinjurylawyerblog.com/zostavax-lawsuit-update.html.

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Taxotere Trial Schedule Update December 21, 2020

December 21, 2020 — The Court continued the second bellwether trial. Reference:  “United States District Court.” MDL – 2740 Taxotere (Docetaxel) Products Liability Litigation | Eastern District of Louisiana | United States District Court, 28 Dec. 2020, www.laed.uscourts.gov/case-information/mdl-mass-class-action/taxotere

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Merck & Co. Ordered to Disclose Internal Emails In Zostavax Lawsuit

December 23, 2020 — Judge Harvey Bartle ruled that all but part of one of the 22 documents in dispute were not shielded by the attorney-client privilege.  Accordingly, Merck & Co. is required to disclose internal emails about potential changes to the label of Zostavax, which could reveal its knowledge of the adverse effects its vaccine was causing long before it actually made the label change in 2014. Reference: Pierson, Brendan. “Merck Must Turn over Emails in Zostavax MDL, despite Claims of Privilege.” Reuters, Thomson Reuters, 24 Dec. 2020, www.reuters.com/article/health-zostavax/merck-must-turn-over-emails-in-zostavax-mdl-despite-claims-of-privilege-idUSL1N2J41FA.

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Generic Ranitidine Manufacturers Claim Plaintiffs Have Not Been Injured

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recalled all Zantac (ranitidine) antacid products from the market on April1, 2020, based on evidence that the products tested positive for unsafe levels of N-nitroso dimethylamine (NDMA), a cancer-causing substance. Since that time, many plaintiffs, who took the medication and were diagnosed with cancer, have filed against the makers of Zantac and generic ranitidine products. Some plaintiffs who were not diagnosed with cancer have also filed Zantac lawsuits because they fear they might get cancer in the future. In one such consolidated consumer class action complaint against generic manufacturers, the defendants have filed a motion to dismiss, alleging that the plaintiffs “fail to allege a true injury-in-fact,” if they have not been diagnosed with cancer.  To have a viable claim, the defendants argue that a plaintiff “must allege an injury that is distinct and palpable, as opposed to merely abstract, and the alleged harm must be actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical.” The plaintiffs countered in their opposition response arguing the law holds that any products “that are so unsafe that they are illegal to buy or sell are also economically worthless and give rise to constitutional injury in fact when plaintiffs purchase them.” All federally filed Zantac and generic ranitidine lawsuits have been consolidated into the Southern District of Florida by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML). Reference:  Luhanna, Roopal. “Generic Ranitidine Manufacturers Try to Get Class-Action Case Dismissed.” The Legal Examiner, 1 Dec. 2020. https://newyork.legalexaminer.com/health/generic-ranitidine-manufacturers-try-to-get-class-action-case-dismissed/

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| Read Time: 5 minutes | Dangerous Drugs

Do I Qualify for the Zantac Lawsuit?

If you previously took Zantac and developed subsequent health problems, you may be entitled to pursue legal action. Not everyone who has side effects will be eligible to bring a successful lawsuit, which is why it’s crucial to understand who actually qualifies for the Zantac lawsuit. The FDA issued a warning that Zantac and its generic form ranitidine could cause cancer in some users. If you can show a cancer diagnosis linked to ranitidine usage, you may qualify to bring a Zantac lawsuit. To learn more about pursuing a claim for damages, speak to a Zantac lawsuit attorney at Gerling Law today. What Is Wrong with Zantac? Zantac is both a prescription and over-the-counter medication designed to decrease the amount of acid your stomach produces. It could help with heartburn, acid reflux, and other throat, gastrointestinal, and stomach issues. However, in April 2020, the FDA announced that companies should remove Zantac and its generic version ranitidine from their shelves as they discovered unacceptable amounts of NDMA. The FDA’s permissible daily intake is listed at 96 nanograms. However, routine testing by the online pharmacy Valisure discovered levels exceeding three million nanograms per tablet. NDMA is the chemical N-nitrosodimethylamine, which is an environmental contaminant. Low levels of NDMA are found in some foods and water. At minimal levels, there is no expectation that your risk for cancer will increase. However, higher levels of exposure could increase your risk of cancer. Numerous studies have shown a link between NMDA and cancer in both animals and humans. It’s been known to cause cancer in animals and is probably carcinogenic to humans. It’s also the same carcinogen that led to a recall of the blood pressure drug Valsartan in 2018. Some studies on NDMA date back 40 years, and evidence suggests that manufacturers concealed the fact that there’s a potential link to cancer. By hiding this fact, companies like Sanofi and Boehringer Ingelheim profited significantly. Zantac was one of the first drugs to generate one billion dollars in sales. There are multiple theories on what causes NDMA to become carcinogenic in products like Zantac. There is a possibility that ranitidine’s inherent instability results in a chemical reaction that creates high levels of NDMA in your digestive tract. When nitrates are present, the chances increase. The FDA says NDMA is found in Zantac. Storing it at a temperature higher than room temperature could result in even higher NDMA levels. What Type of Cancer Does Zantac Cause? Research into the link between NDMA and cancer is ongoing. Some types of cancer that could result from NDMA exposure in ranitidine include: Stomach cancer, Esophageal cancer, Colorectal cancer, Bladder cancer, Intestinal cancer, Throat/nasal cancer, Pancreatic cancer, Liver cancer, Breast cancer, Lung cancer (non-smokers), and Prostate cancer. There could be other types of cancers related to Zantac use as well. These could include: Kidney cancer, Brain cancer, Thyroid cancer, Leukemia, Islet cell tumors, Multiple myeloma, and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. If you have any of these types of cancer, it’s crucial to speak with a knowledgeable Zantac lawsuit attorney who can assist you. Who Is Suing Zantac? The initial lawsuit for Zantac was filed against Sanofi and Boehringer Ingelheim in California. The plaintiffs allege that these drug makers knew or should have known that Zantac was contaminated with a chemical with links to cancer. The plaintiffs suing Zantac are those people who developed cancer after taking ranitidine. There are already hundreds of plaintiffs, and the list is expected to grow by thousands more. There are several class-action suits, including plaintiffs who have used ranitidine but have not gotten sick. The plaintiffs in these suits are looking for reimbursement for the cost of the medication, and some are seeking equitable relief, such as medical monitoring. More manufacturers produced ranitidine tablets than just Sanofi or Boehringer. Other ranitidine products recalled in the FDA April 2020 release include: AHP (American Health Packaging)—ranitidine liquid unit dose cups and ranitidine tablets USP 150mg; Amneal (Amneal Pharmaceuticals, LLC)—ranitidine tablets 150mg and 300mg and Ranitidine syrup (Ranitidine Oral Solution, USP), 15 mg/mL; ANI (Appco Pharma LLC)—ranitidine tablets 150mg and 300mg; Apotex Corp. (Apotex Corp sold at Rite Aid, Walmart, and Walgreens)—ranitidine tablets 75mg and 150mg; Aurobindo & DG Health (Aurobindo Pharma, USA, Inc.)—ranitidine tablets and capsules 150mg; Glenmark (Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, Inc)—ranitidine tablets 150mg and 300mg.; Golden State Medical Supply, Incorporated (GSMS, Inc and Novitium Pharma LLC.)—ranitidine HCI 150mg and 300mg capsules; Lannett Company, Inc.—ranitidine syrup (ranitidine oral solution, USP) 15mg/mL; Northwind (Denton Pharma, Inc. dba Northwind Pharmaceuticals)—ranitidine tablets 150mg and 300mg; Perrigo Company PLC—ranitidine; Precision Dose (Amneal Pharmaceuticals)—ranitidine oral solution, USP 150mg/10mL; Dr. Reddy’s (Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd. sold at Kroger, Walgreens, Sam’s Club, CVS, and more)—ranitidine tablets and capsules; and Sandoz Inc.—ranitidine hydrochloride capsules 150mg and 300mg. If you still have any of these medications in your possession, keep the empty prescription bottles or other evidence that can help your lawsuit. However, you should properly destroy unused medicines following the FDA disposal guidelines. Who Actually Qualifies for the Zantac Lawsuit? To sue for Zantac-related cancer, you must meet the eligibility requirements. To start, you need to prove that you were taking Zantac. If you received a prescription for it, establishing usage is easier. If you took the over-the-counter version, it could be more challenging. You will need to gather any evidence that shows you took Zantac. Helpful evidence can include: Prescription records from your doctor; Pharmacy prescription records; Prescription bottles or packaging; and Purchase receipts. If you don’t have any of the items mentioned above, there may still be a way you can show proof. Very few people keep their bottles or receipts for medications, but you could also try to find records through the following:  Health saving accounts (HSA), Rx prescription drug cards, Health reimbursement accounts (HRA), Health flexible spending accounts (FSA), or Declarations or affidavits that you took over-the-counter Zantac. Next, you must have received a cancer diagnosis that aligns with one or more of the cancer types associated with exposure to NDMA. If your type...

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Sanofi Faces Financial Conduct Authority Claims

November 12, 2020 — U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody “trimmed” claims accusing Sanofi’s predecessor, Aventis Pharmaceuticals, of false advertising and giving kickbacks to physicians who promoted Taxotere.  Claims stated that between 1996 and 2004, the drug manufacturer paid doctors to attend advisory boards focused on advertising Taxotere.  The doctors then prescribed Taxotere or off-brand versions of Taxotere to their patients after receiving kickbacks. Judge Brody ruled that the evidence likely indicates that Sanofi was aware its advisory boards did not align with its internal compliance policies.   The manufacturer was able to get rid of a false advertising claim.  It also avoided allegations of running a scheme in which sales representatives shadowed doctors and distributing kickbacks through meals and gift baskets. Reference: “Sanofi Must Face Cancer Drug FCA Claims At Trial.” Law360, www.law360.com/trials/articles/1328289/sanofi-must-face-cancer-drug-fca-claims-at-trial

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