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Drug company admits it concealed debilitating side effects, fatalities from government regulators

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The Japanese unit of Swiss pharma giant Novartis (Xetra: 904278 – news) has admitted it did not report more than 2,500 cases of serious side effects in patients using its leukaemia and other cancer drugs, reportedly including some fatalities.

The revelations, which marked the latest in a string of scandals at the company’s Japanese subsidiary, come after local authorities slapped the firm on the wrist, saying it had to clean up its operations.

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On Friday, Novartis issued a statement saying it had failed to report to regulators at least 2,579 cases where patients had suffered serious potential side effects from its drugs.

Japan’s Jiji Press news agency said they included some fatal cases, without specifying a figure.

The unit declined to comment on Monday, referring questions to its Swiss headquarters.

Japanese media said the number of cases involved could rise as Novartis probes 6,000 other cases.

The news comes about four months after Novartis replaced the top executives at its Japanese arm over allegations it did not properly disclose the possible side effects of its leukaemia treatments.

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In July, Japanese prosecutors laid charges against the unit over claims that falsified data was used to exaggerate the benefits of a popular blood-pressure drug.

They also indicted a former employee, Nobuo Shirahashi, alleging he manipulated the data in clinical studies that were later used in marketing the drug Valsartan.

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Catholic peaders promised transparency about child abuse — but they haven’t delivered

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It took 40 years and three bouts of cancer for Larry Giacalone to report his claim of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of a Boston priest named Richard Donahue.

Giacalone sued Donahue in 2017, alleging the priest molested him in 1976, when Giacalone was 12 and Donahue was serving at Sacred Heart Parish. The lawsuit never went to trial, but a compensation program set up by the archdiocese concluded that Giacalone “suffered physical injuries and emotional injuries as a result of physical abuse” and directed the archdiocese to pay him $73,000.

Even after the claim was settled and the compensation paid in February 2019, however, the archdiocese didn’t publish Donahue’s name on its list of accused priests. Nor did it three months later when Giacalone’s lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, criticized the church publicly for not adding Donahue’s name to the list.

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Mike Pompeo’s behavior is straight out of Nixon VP’s playbook: historians

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s expletive-laden dust-up with NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly is on message for the Trump-led Republican Party. Complaining that Kelly’s question about Ukraine was “another example of how unhinged the media has become in its quest to hurt President Trump and this Administration,” Pompeo has rallied the Republican base by slamming a journalist doing her job.

Whether he knows it or not, Pompeo is drawing from a playbook written a half century ago and perfected by a politician once voted the worst vice president in American history. Secretary Mike Pompeo, meet Vice President Spiro Agnew.

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‘Our chances of ever exiting the nightmare are shrinking’: Paul Krugman explains how the GOP is getting worse

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It is a great detriment to civil discourse that the divide between left and right in the United States is often depicted as being purely cultural — as if one’s politics were solely mediated by aesthetics, such as whether one prefers shooting guns or drinking lattes. This fabulist understanding of politics is harmful inasmuch as it masks the real social effects of the policy agendas pushed by left versus right. Seeing politics as aesthetic transforms what should be a quantitative debate — with statistics and numbers about taxation and public policy, questions of who benefits more or less from policy changes — and devolves it into a rhetorical debate over values.

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