According to FDA and the Wall Street Journal, the FDA and the Department of Justice announced a consent decree to permanently enjoin Johnson & Johnson subsidiary McNeil-PPC Inc from the manufacture or distribution of products from its Fort Washington, Pa., plant until FDA determines the operations comply with federal law. In addition, the decree requires that Mcneil meet strict timetables in bringing its plants in Las Piedras, Puerto Rico, and Lancaster, Pa into compliance. The facilities manufacture both children and adult over the counter medications such as Motrin, Tylenol, Benadryl and Zyrtec. FDA contends that non-compliant manufacturing practices led to the recall of such products on April 30, 2010.

For the FDA news release see:

http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm246685.htm

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The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced this afternoon that it will go live with the SaferProducts.gov database so that consumers will have open access to product safety reports. This will allow consumers an easier way to report bad things about products and ensure that anyone who wants to look at reports in the database will be able to see them.

Reports received today will be online and searchable by consumers at the beginning of April at www.SaferProducts.gov

In the meantime you can learn more at 

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml09/09346.html

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The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced yet another voluntary road bike recall yesterday relating to front fork steering tube weaknesses that could cause breaks and a fall injury hazard. The recall relates to Procycle Group Inc., of Canada's, Rocky Mountain Bicycles sold between 2008 and 2010. This follows similar recalls by Felt and REI. 

Since this is a Canadian entity, there is no indiction in this report of where the forks were manufactured. However, the other recalls indicated manufacture in China. 

The CPSC report and pictures of the bikes, along with model numbers can be found at:

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml11/11166.html

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In a 95-5 vote earlier this week. the United States Senate passed the America Invents Act. The Act would change the U.S. patent system from first-to-invent to first-to-file. This race to the patent office for inventors is meant to provide avenues to relieve increasing litigation over patent infringement and help the Patent Office clear its backlog of some 700,000 applications. 

The Patent Office usually generates fees of around $4,000 per application, but the Act would allow them to set a higher, as of yet undisclosed, designated fee to ensure that the application clears the process in one year. This is seen as a bonus for large companies, but perhaps a larger financial burden for the small inventor who will not likely be able to compete with large corporate firms who have the financial clout  to be first to file and pay the designated one-year application fees. 

The Act now makes its way to the House of Representatives where there is no immediate indication of when or whether it will reach the floor for a vote. For a broader story on the Act, see and article in the New York Times at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/09/business/09patent.html?_r=2&scp=1&sq=patent&st=cse

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