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Northam administration kicks off Computer Science Education Week in Virginia

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RICHMOND—Proclaiming December 3–9, 2018 as Computer Science Education Week in Virginia, today Governor Ralph Northam will join First Lady Pamela Northam and administration officials to kick off a series of events designed to encourage students of all ages to get interested in computer science, and expand opportunities for computer science education in all parts of the Commonwealth.  is a national initiative dedicated to increasing awareness of the transformative role of computing and the need to strengthen computer science education at all levels.

“As one of the fastest growing industries in Virginia, computer science is at the core of virtually all sectors of our economy,” said Governor Northam. “My administration is determined to make sure that Virginia students have exposure to computer science courses at every grade level, and I look forward to traveling the Commonwealth this week to highlight computer science and the role it plays in related disciplines like education, technology, and space exploration.”

The theme of this year’s Virginia Computer Science Education Week launch is “Mission Possible: Cybersecurity,” in recognition of Virginia’s importance to the information security industry and to safeguarding our national security.

“This week is not just an exciting time for students, but for teachers as well,” said Secretary of Education Atif Qarni. “Learning activities like coding are a great introduction into computer science for learners of all ages. Having fun and meaningful exposure to and experiences with computer science is critical for all students as they consider their future careers.”

Virginia is the first state in the nation to adopt computer science and computational thinking, to include coding, as a core subject for all students. As part of Computer Science Education Week, Governor Northam and administration officials are encouraging school districts, teachers, and students to explore coding by taking part in “hour of code” programs.

Computing is the number one source of all new wages in the United States. Virginia has the third highest concentration of technology workers of any state in the country, and ranks first for total number of computer science jobs.

Governor and First Lady Northam will participate in the following events during Computer Science Education Week. For more information on Virginia Computer Science Education Week activities, click here.

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International Space Station resupply mission launches from Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport

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~ Spacecraft named in honor of first African American astronaut ~

RICHMOND—The 13th cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station successfully launched Saturday, February 15 at 3:21 p.m. from Wallops Island. The mission will deliver 8,009 pounds of cargo to the space station.

The “NG-13” mission is a partnership of the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority (Virginia Space), NASA Wallops Flight Facility, and Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems. The spacecraft launched from Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) Pad 0A.

Northrop Grumman named the NG-13 spacecraft after former astronaut Robert H. Lawrence, Jr. He became the first African American astronaut in 1967 when the Air Force selected him as a member of the third group of astronauts for the Manned Orbiting Laboratory program. Major Lawrence served in the United States Air Force as an officer and pilot, accumulating more than 2,500 flight hours, including 2,000 in jets. He spent much of his career training other pilots in cutting-edge flight maneuvers and techniques. His Air Force honors included the Commendation Medal and the Outstanding Unit Citation.

“Today’s launch is delivering equipment to the International Space Station, where astronauts are advancing scientific understanding,” said Governor Northam. “This important mission honors the legacy of Major Robert Lawrence, who dedicated his career to advancing science through flight.”

NASA and its partners have successfully supported humans continuously living in space since the Expedition 1 crew arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) on November 2, 2000. The unique microgravity laboratory has hosted 239 people from 19 countries, more than 2,600 experiments from 3,900 researchers in more than 107 countries, and a variety of international and commercial spacecraft. The space station also is facilitating the growth of a robust commercial market in low-Earth orbit for research, technology development, and crew and cargo transportation.

“The world-class infrastructure and technology on Wallops Island are expanding opportunities for science, research, national security, and ISS cargo resupply missions,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “Collaboration among the Commonwealth, Virginia Space, and NASA Wallops will continue to grow the potential of this strategic national asset and gateway to space.”

The Commonwealth built MARS Pad 0A to accommodate the Antares 230+ rocket configuration and Cygnus spacecraft. Modifications in 2019 made it possible to accommodate the loading of time-sensitive experiments into the Cygnus spacecraft up to 24 hours before liftoff, shortening the previous four-day pre-loading requirement. This is the second official mission to use this loading capability, which has made the MARS facility eligible for missions that include life science investigations in the payload.

This will be the second mission under Northrop Grumman’s Commercial Resupply Services-2 contract with NASA, for which the company will fly a minimum of six missions to the ISS through 2024.

NASA Image: ISS051E034105 – Commander Peggy Whitson is working on the OsteoOmics bone cell study that utilizes the Microgravity Science Glovebox inside the U.S. Destiny laboratory.

The Antares rocket will boost an unmanned Cygnus spacecraft carrying more than 8,000 pounds of payload to the ISS that includes scientific investigations, supplies, and vehicle hardware for the orbital laboratory and its crew.

The scientific investigations launching on Cygnus are part of commercial and academic payloads across a variety of disciplines, including:

Mobile SpaceLab, tissue and cell culturing facility for sophisticated microgravity biology experiments.

Mochii, a miniature scanning electron microscope for analysis of small and microscopic particles in space. This onsite imaging and measurement of particles could be a game-changer for microgravity research in Low Earth Orbit.

OsteoOmics, an experiment to investigate astronaut bone loss due to a lack of gravity while they are in orbit. The study of signaling pathways, as well as gene and protein expression, could also have implications for patients on Earth.

Phage Evolution, an investigation that aims to improve understanding of the effects of microgravity and cosmic radiation on bacteriophages (viruses that specifically invade and destroy bacteria without harming human cells) and hosts. This could result in significant developments for phage technology, which would ultimately help protect the health of astronauts on future missions. Targeted phage therapy to eliminate harmful bacteria without causing large-scale damage to a human’s microbiome is currently being utilized on Earth as an alternative to antibiotics in an age of increasing antibiotic resistance.

Saffire-IV, a fire suppression investigation that will aid understanding of how fires spread in space and will support the development of flame-resistant materials and fire prevention measures. The experiment uses the Cygnus resupply vehicle after it leaves the space station, thereby eliminating exposure of humans or spacecraft to fire danger.

NASA Image: JSC2016E017570 – Photographic documentation of Saffire-I taken during the OA-6 Crew Equipment Interface Test (CEIT) at KSC/Space Station Processing Facility (SSPF). The NASA Advanced Exploration Systems program began a project to develop and demonstrate spacecraft fire safety technologies in relevant environments. The keystone of these demonstrations is a large-scale fire safety investigation conducted on an International Space Station (ISS) resupply vehicle after it has undocked from the ISS and before it reenters the atmosphere.

The Cygnus spacecraft will spend about three months attached to the space station. It will then depart the station, the Saffire-IV experiment will be activated, and the spacecraft will deorbit.

“Virginia Space continues to provide reliable ground support systems and personnel through maintenance and operation of MARS Pad 0A, the homeport of the Antares rocket,” said Dale Nash, Executive Director of the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority. “The strong and strategic public-public-private partnership of Virginia Space, NASA Goddard’s Wallops Flight Facility, and Northrop Grumman is a unique collaboration that contributes to ongoing mission success.”

The Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority is a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Virginia Space owns and operates the MARS Spaceport, the MARS Payload Processing Facility, and the MARS Unmanned Systems Test Range. The facilities are all located on the NASA Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, where their mission is to provide low-cost, safe, reliable, “schedule-friendly” access to space and secure facilities for testing of unmanned vehicles for integration into the National Air Space. Virginia continues to play a key role in national security and assured access to space, as one of only four states in the United States hosting a spaceport licensed by the FAA to launch spacecraft into orbit or on interplanetary trajectories. For more information, visit vaspace.org.

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Governor Northam announces plans to protect migratory birds

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Governor Ralph Northam today announced a comprehensive approach to address the loss of habitat for colonial nesting birds on the South Island of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT), and create a backstop against the federal government’s failure to protect migratory birds.

The South Island is where construction equipment will be based during the expansion of the HRBT, a project critical for reducing congestion and improving safety in eastern Virginia. It is the largest project ever for the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).

The South Island is an artificial island where the bridge transitions to a tunnel. Since the HRBT was constructed in the 1950s, South Island has become the nesting site for as many as 25,000 migratory birds, including terns, gulls, and other colonial nesting species.

Virginia is acting because, in 2018, federal officials reinterpreted a longstanding provision of the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, passed into law in 1918, to significantly limit the protections it provides for migratory birds. Had this federal policy remained unchanged, it would have protected the birds on South Island.

The plan for migratory birds includes these components:

• New policy backstop. The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) has initiated the process to develop a regulation to define and permit “incidental take” of migratory birds for major commercial, industrial, and construction projects in the Commonwealth. This rule would make Virginia one of the first states to “backstop” recent federal rollbacks of longstanding migratory bird protections. DGIF will release a discussion draft of the rule for comment in the coming weeks.

• New habitat for nesting. DGIF will provide habitat for nesting waterbirds by preparing an artificial island adjacent to the HRBT, known as Rip Raps Island (The Department of Conservation and Recreation owns the island, which is also known as Fort Wool.). In addition, DGIF will seek authorization to procure and position barges to provide additional nesting habitat in advance of the upcoming nesting season.

• Bird management plan. Before construction begins, the HRBT design-builder will develop a bird management plan to ensure effective deterrence of nesting and treatment of nests, eggs, and young that may become established on the HRBT’s South Island. The firm will do this in consultation with VDOT and DGIF.

• Study possible new long-term habitat. DGIF will accelerate its work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to assess the feasibility of creating an artificial island to provide long-term habitat for displaced waterbirds.

• Restoring habitat after construction. Upon completion of construction, VDOT will restore a portion of nesting habitat on South Island to the maximum extent possible.

• Ongoing study: Interactions of Infrastructure and Natural Resources. VDOT and Virginia’s Chief Resiliency Officer commissioned the Virginia Institute of Marine Science to study interactions among transportation infrastructure, migratory birds and other wildlife, and climate change in coastal Virginia.

“This plan demonstrates that infrastructure and development can and must be compatible with wildlife conservation,” said Governor Northam. “It also shows that Virginia is stepping up when federal policies change environmental protections.”

“Infrastructure projects succeed when they are built in harmony with all of the Commonwealth’s priorities,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “Working together here in Virginia, I believe we have found an approach that puts us on a path to success.”

“Virginia is a world-class outdoor recreation destination, and the birds using the Atlantic Flyway that stops along our shores are a big reason why,” said Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew J. Strickler. “Protecting wildlife resources is challenging under the best of circumstances and it becomes even harder when federal partners weaken longstanding policies.”

The Office of the Governor and relevant agencies will continue this work and will be prepared to accommodate the birds when they return for the spring 2020 nesting season and beyond. Additional details will be provided soon.

Contracts to expand the HRBT include a fixed completion date of November 1, 2025.

For additional information about the Commonwealth’s plan to protect migratory birds click here.

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Animal Health International will pay more than $52 million in forfeitures, fines, and penalties

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Animal Health International Inc. (AHI), a Colorado corporation that obtains prescription drugs for animals from manufacturers for further distribution to veterinarians, farms, feedlots, and other facilities, pleaded guilty today, through its corporate counsel, in U.S. District Court to introducing a misbranded drug into interstate commerce. Also, Patterson Companies, Inc. (Patterson) AHI’s corporate parent, entered into a non-prosecution agreement in which is committed to enhance its compliance program and fully comply with the law. United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen and Special Agent in Charge Mark S. McCormack of the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations Metro Washington Field Office, made the announcement today.

Pursuant to the agreements entered into by AHI and Patterson, AHI admitted to introducing and causing the introduction and delivery into interstate commerce of veterinary prescription drugs that were misbranded and agreed to pay $1 million to the Virginia Department of Health Professionals, a $5 million fine, and a forfeiture money judgment of $46,802,203. In the past 18 months, Patterson has fully cooperated in the investigation and implemented changes to AHI’s and its compliance programs to prevent further violations of federal and state law.

“Today’s conviction demonstrates that our office will not tolerate when entities or individuals illegally bypass the important safeguards that exist to protect our nation’s food sources,” First Assistant United States Attorney Daniel P. Bubar said today. “We will continue to work closely with our partner agencies to make sure that veterinary drug distributors uphold their important obligations.”

“The FDA recognizes the importance of controlling the prescription drug supply for animals. The careless or uncontrolled distribution of prescription animal drugs poses a danger not only to the medicated animals but to the U.S. public health by increasing the risk that humans will become resistant to antibiotics that we unknowingly consume through our food supply.,” said Special Agent in Charge Mark S. McCormack, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Metro Washington Field Office. “We will continue to pursue and bring to justice those who distribute prescription animal drugs unlawfully.”

The Food and Drug Administration’s restrictions on veterinary prescription drugs are not primarily to protect animals from the potential harms of prescription drugs but are to protect the human food supply from unsafe drug residues in the edible tissues of animals sold for slaughter. Common causes of illegal residues include (1) exceeding the drug’s approved dose; (2) using a shorter withdrawal period than what is stated on the drug’s label (if a higher than approved dose is given, the labeled withdrawal period may not be enough to allow the drug in the edible tissues to deplete to levels that are at or below the tolerance); (3) using a drug in an extra-label manner (for indications and dosages outside the approved labeling) without a veterinarian’s involvement; (4) giving a drug not approved for that species; and (5) using an unapproved route of administration. Drug residues in the nation’s drug supply are concerning because: (1) they may contribute to antibiotic resistance in the human population, rendering human drugs less effective to treat human disease and contributing to the mutations of “superbugs”; and (2) they may cause allergic reactions in individuals with certain drug allergies.

According to court documents, from 2012 through 2018, AHI caused misbranded veterinary prescription drug shipments to be made throughout the United States by distributing veterinary drugs from its wholesale locations directly to end-users and by distributing veterinary drugs to unlicensed individuals.

Two such unlicensed individuals, Marlin Webb and Billy K. Groce were not properly licensed to receive, transport, store, distribute, or dispense veterinary prescription drugs. Webb was the store manager of a cooperative in Hillsville, Virginia. The cooperative was not a licensed wholesaler, pharmacy, or veterinary clinic. Groce operated an unlicensed veterinary prescription distribution business. Webb and Groce each obtained veterinary prescription drugs from AHI in interstate commerce without valid prescriptions, and on many occasions, with no prescriptions at all. Webb and Groce previously pled guilty to criminal charges for their conduct in United States District Court in Abingdon.

While, as stated in the charge to which AHI pled guilty, AHI obtained not less than $46,802,203 from its illegal shipments, its profits from such shipments were a small percentage of the amount received.

United States District Judge James P. Jones scheduled sentencing for April 28, 2020, at 2:30 p.m.

The investigation of the case was conducted by the Food and Drug Administration – Office of Criminal Investigations with the assistance of the Virginia Department of Health Professions. Assistant United States Attorney Randy Ramseyer is prosecuting the case for the United States.

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Attorney General Mark Herring praises Virginia House and Senate’s passage of marijuana decriminalization legislation

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RICHMOND (February 11, 2020) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring today issued the following statement praising the Virginia House and Senate’s passage of legislation that will decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana:

“Passing decriminalization in both the House and the Senate is a really important first step in the right direction on Virginia’s journey towards legal and regulated adult use, but this cannot be the end. We must keep going because the work is not done,” said Attorney General Herring. “For too long, Virginia’s approach to cannabis has needlessly saddled Virginians, especially African Americans and people of color, with criminal records but with these votes that is finally coming to an end. I want to thank my colleagues in both the House and the Senate for joining me in making this issue a priority and I look forward to seeing the progress we can make in the coming years.”

Attorney General Herring has become the leader on cannabis reform in Virginia following his call for decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana, action to address past convictions, and a move towards legal and regulated adult use. In his call for cannabis reform, he cited the unnecessary negative impact of a criminal conviction for possession, the expense and social costs of enforcing the current system, and the disparate impact on African Americans and people and communities of color.

Attorney General Herring reiterated his call for reform when data from 2018 showed a record number of arrests for marijuana possession. In the last decade the number of first time marijuana convictions in Virginia has risen 53%, from 6,533 in 2008 to 10,000 in 2017. Arrests for marijuana possession have increased about 220%, from around 9,000 in 1999 to nearly 29,000 in 2018.

The cost of marijuana criminal enforcement is estimated to exceed $81 million each year. In December 2019, Attorney General Herring held a cannabis summit for policy making stakeholders in Virginia that focused on policy and included experts from attorneys generals’ offices, state agencies and legislative operations in states that have legalized cannabis, as well as cannabis policy experts.

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Unredacted complaint reveals fentanyl manufacture Teva/Cephalon’s illegal marketing strategies

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~ Newly unsealed information shows for the first time the extent to which Teva/Cephalon lied about the uses and risks of their fentanyl drugs to boost sales ~

RICHMOND (February 10, 2020) – Newly unsealed information shows for the first time the extent to which Teva Pharmaceuticals, USA, Inc. and its predecessor Cephalon Inc. lied about the uses and risks of their fentanyl drugs to boost sales. The scale of Teva and Cephalon’s lies and deception was revealed in a newly unredacted Complaint in Attorney General Mark Herring’s lawsuit against the companies for their role in creating and perpetuating the opioid crisis through their unlawful, decades-long campaign to boost sales and deceive the public about these drugs. The unredacted Complaint shows how the companies took opioids the FDA had only approved for treating cancer patients’ pain and aggressively marketed them for a wide variety of prohibited off-label uses and encouraged non-cancer treating doctors, a third of whom were primary care physicians, to misprescribe these powerful drugs; discloses the FDA’s previously unknown stern warnings about the drugs, which the companies subsequently ignored; and shows how the companies manipulated clinical trial data to hide what they knew about their drugs’ addiction and overdose risks and how they exaggerated the drugs’ overall efficacy and benefits.

“Teva and Cephalon blatantly lied about the usage, the efficacy, and the risks of their extremely dangerous and addictive drugs in order to make billions of dollars in profit,” said Attorney General Herring. “Families in Virginia and around the country have been devastated by the ongoing opioid epidemic, which has its roots in the boardrooms and marketing departments of companies like Teva and Cephalon. This unredacted Complaint reveals how these opioid manufacturers had absolutely no problem with putting human lives at risk in order to make as much money as they could. I will not stop until pharmaceutical companies are held accountable and shoulder the financial burden for their role in creating and prolonging the opioid crisis.”

Since 2007, fatal fentanyl overdoses in Virginia have risen by nearly 1,600%, from just 48 in 2007 to more than 800 in 2018. In the same period, nearly 10,000 Virginians have died of a heroin or opioid overdose, including 5,700 from a prescription overdose, and nearly 3,500 from a fentanyl overdose, all while Teva/Cephalon made huge sums of money from its fentanyl drugs.

In October 2019, Attorney General Herring filed suit against opioid manufacturer Teva/Cephalon for engaging in what he alleges was an unlawful, complex, decades-long campaign to boost sales of fentanyl – the most potent narcotic currently approved for human use – by marketing its rapid acting fentanyl drugs for unapproved and unsafe uses, and by knowingly and intentionally downplaying the risks of its drugs while overselling the benefits.

Unlawfully Marketing and Promoting Cancer Pain Drugs for Non-Cancer Related Conditions
In 2008, Cephalon settled federal criminal charges and state civil charges for illegally marketing Actiq, a potent rapid-release form of fentanyl, which was administered via a raspberry-flavored fentanyl lollipop. Attorney General Herring’s unredacted Complaint reveals the involvement of Cephalon’s top managers in targeting and encouraging doctors to prescribe Actiq for a wide range of unapproved symptoms and issues, including “acute pain, premedication for procedures, post-surgical pain, kidney stones, tooth extractions, migraine pain, back pain, neuropathic pain, headache pain, arthritis, or fibromyalgia.”

The unredacted Complaint shows how these managers participated in conferences at high-end resorts, where they ostensibly “educated” high prescribers of other opioids about the benefits of Actiq for uses forbidden by the FDA using “educational” materials that they never submitted to the FDA. The unredacted Complaint shows how the conferences persuaded providers to go back to their home states, including Virginia, and use Actiq for unsafe and unapproved uses, all while Cephalon was telling the FDA it was discouraging the uses.

One email from a Cephalon agent to Andy Pyfer, Cephalon’s brand manager for Actiq, captures the company’s sales goals efforts at the time, summarizing a well-attended conference at a five-star San Diego resort by saying: “It was a great meeting. I think we definitely sold some Actiq.”

The unredacted Complaint also reveals for the first time the scope of Cephalon’s illegal sales practices at this time. It shows Cephalon aggressively targeted non-cancer prescribers and doctors with sales and promotional visits, including doctors specializing in “primary care, family medicine, physical medicine, and neurology,” even though the drugs were only FDA approved to treat cancer patients. Below is a breakdown of Cephalon’s sales calls in the first seven months of 2004:

The unredacted Complaint also reveals Cephalon’s “ride ‘em up ride ‘em down policy,” which encouraged salespeople to repeatedly target high prescribers up until the point authorities stepped in and stopped the prescriber. As the Complaint explains: “as a high-performing Florida salesperson put it about a high prescribing doctor…‘i[f] I knew that this physician was in town practicing medicine, I would’ve been in there three times a week pushing him to write more Actiq’”. Cephalon even “affirmatively told salespeople not to report or flag doctors who salespeople knew were prescribing Fentora off-label for the wrong conditions”.

Cephalon Ignored FDA Warnings
The unredacted Complaint reveals a previously unknown series of meetings between the FDA and Cephalon in 2004, in which top FDA officials warned Cephalon that the use of Actiq by non-cancer patients was “staggering…the Agency is very concerned that the situation that occurred with Oxycontin may happen again.” The FDA told Cephalon its sales practices were creating a “significant public health” problem, by providing non-cancer patients with a product so powerful it put them at risk of an immediate overdose.

The unredacted Complaint also reveals that Cephalon did not substantially change its practices with the introduction of Actiq’s successor Fentora, in 2006, a rapid-release fentanyl tablet. The company kept targeting providers who were prescribing Fentora for back pain, and other non-cancer conditions, and it kept turning a blind eye to the resulting problems.

Below is an egregious example of a company-approved response to a Q&A produced for their salespeople:

Knowingly Downplaying Risks of Abuse and Overdose While Overselling Benefits and Efficacy
The unredacted Complaint discloses clinical trial data showing that Cephalon and then Teva, which acquired Cephalon in 2011, knew Actiq and Fentora were widely abused and misused by clinical trial patients and knew the drugs were showing potentially alarming diminution in pain relief the longer the patients used them.

The unredacted Complaint reveals that data from clinical trials of Fentora showed that the drug “increased the risk of addiction while bringing fleeting and diminishing relief” and that “patients taking Actiq or Fentora for months or longer exposed themselves to extremely high risks and diminishing pain relief.” According to the unredacted Complaint, in one 18 month clinical trial patients had a:
• 31% increase in pain episodes per day, from 3.5 to 4.6 episodes/day;
• Took 26% more Fentora tablets per day, from 3.5 to 4.4 tablets/day; and
• Had a 42% increase in their average daily Fentora dosage, from 2,162 mcg/day to 3,088 mcg/day.

The companies ghostwrote publications in prominent academic journals, like Cancer, that deliberately misled prescribers and patients about these potential declines in the opioids’ pain relieving properties over time. As the unredacted Complaint notes of the Cancer publication about a long-term study of Fentora use by cancer patients, “the actual study data…suggested the opposite of what Cephalon claimed: that the patients who were in study for 12 months or more actually experienced a decline in analgesic efficacy, suggesting an increase in incremental tolerance to Fentora because they were taking more and more doses per day of Fentora and other opioids.” The unredacted Complaint shows that Teva made efficacy claims a “key pillar” of its marketing campaigns for Fentora from 2008 to the present, all while relying on misleading data.

Additionally, the companies were well aware of, but largely did not disclose, alarming clinical trial data about misuse, abuse, and addiction involving Fentora. The unredacted Complaint details how clinical trial patients in long-term cancer and non-cancer trials, none of whom had a history of substance abuse, started exhibiting alarming drug seeking behaviors, what the companies called “aberrant drug related behavior.”

For example, in one non-cancer long-term clinical trial there were frequent incidents of abuse and misuse:
• 11 patients overdosed;
• One patient’s husband overdosed;
• 35 patients reported their Fentora stolen;
• Dozens of patients dropped out of the trial without accounting for the 100-plus Fentora tablets they had been given; and
• Five study centers reported Fentora stolen from supposedly secured lockers.

The company claimed in limited disclosures to regulators like the FDA and its European Union counterpart, that the rates of aberrant drug related behavior in study patients were around 17%. Both the FDA and the EU thought this was alarming, and Cephalon’s internal discussions showed that medical staff believed this 17% rate could rise to “more than 41%” if patients took Fentora and other opioids for a year or more.

The unredacted Complaint also alleges that in marketing materials and publications disseminated to healthcare providers, academics, and the public, Teva and Cephalon knowingly omitted this data, failing to list these serious cases of misuse and abuse in its tables of adverse events, all while claiming its products were “generally safe” and “well tolerated.”

Attorney General Herring’s Work to Address the Opioid Crisis
As part of his ongoing efforts to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for their role in creating and prolonging the opioid crisis, Attorney General Herring has also filed suit against Purdue Pharma and members of the Sackler Family, the owners of Purdue, alleging decades of illegal conduct designed to enrich the company and family by selling the most opioids possible. In his suit against the Sackler family, filed in September 2019, Attorney General Herring also alleges that the family fraudulently extracted billions of dollars from the company in an effort to put the money beyond the reach of investigators and those suing the company.

Attorney General Herring also continues to participate in a bipartisan, multistate effort to investigate and hold opioid manufacturers and distributors accountable for their roles in the opioid crisis.

The heroin and prescription opioid epidemic has been a top priority for Attorney General Herring. He and his team continue to attack the problem with a multifaceted approach that includes enforcement, education, prevention, and legislation to encourage reporting of overdoses in progress, expand the availability of naloxone, and expand access to the Prescription Monitoring Program. He has supported federal efforts to improve the availability of treatment and recovery resources and made prescription drug disposal kits available across the Commonwealth.

Download the unredacted complaint here.

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Governor Northam announces Women in Innovation Conference March 17 in Richmond

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~ Theme: Grow, Empower, Mentor, and Succeed ~

RICHMOND—On February 8th, Governor Ralph Northam announced that biochemist and STEM advocate Camille Schrier will keynote the Commonwealth’s second annual Women in Innovation (WIN) conference. She also serves as Miss America 2020. The Virginia Information Technologies Agency’s (VITA) Innovation Program will host the conference in Richmond on Tuesday March 17, 2020, during Women’s History Month.

The conference celebrates the achievements of Virginia women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and aims to inspire the next generation of women innovators.

“The Women in Innovation conference will once again bring together a diverse community of successful women leaders and entrepreneurs to share their stories and empower one another,” said Governor Northam. “Events like this help encourage more young women to pursue their passions and join the ranks of Virginia pioneers in fast-growing, high-demand STEM fields.”

The conference will focus on the exchange of knowledge and ideas, offering a range of networking opportunities where participants can connect with their peers, collaborate on new ideas, and generate new energy to continue their work. This year, through a unique collaboration with CodeVA, the event will also include a new session designed to engage K-12 women.

Featured guests also include National Correspondent for ABC News and Good Morning America Adrienne Bankert, plus a special performance from American Idol finalist Shayy Winn.

“This conference is a forum which offers attendees engagement, growth, and mentorship opportunities,” said Secretary of Administration Dr. Keyanna Conner. “Women in Innovation is geared to provide advice and guidance to individuals of all ages and genres to move forward in today’s society and be productive while in route.”

Dr. Gladys West, a mathematician known for her integral role in the development of the Global Positioning System (GPS), will be recognized with the 2020 Honorary “Powerhouse” Female Innovator Award. Secretary Conner and Nelson Moe, Chief Information Officer of the Commonwealth, will present The Maggies, a Women in Innovation awards program named in honor of Maggie Lena Walker.

The event will be held at the Dewey Gottwald Center at the Science Museum of Virginia and the registration fee is $75. To register, or for additional event information, including the program schedule, please visit the Women in Innovation website.

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Upcoming Events

Feb
16
Sun
1:30 pm Service of Christian & Racial Unity @ Church of the Rock
Service of Christian & Racial Unity @ Church of the Rock
Feb 16 @ 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Service of Christian & Racial Unity @ Church of the Rock
Service of Christian & Racial Unity – “Power of Love in Warren County” Sunday, February 16th, 3:30pm (community meal served at 1:30pm) Sponsored by: FRWC Ministerial Association
Feb
17
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8:30 am Bring a Friend to School Day & O... @ Wakefield Country Day School
Bring a Friend to School Day & O... @ Wakefield Country Day School
Feb 17 @ 8:30 am – 4:00 pm
Bring a Friend to School Day & Open House @ Wakefield Country Day School
Come visit Wakefield Country Day School for our Open House/Bring a Friend to School Day. For the entire school day, students may bring a friend with them to school. Parents may join in on the[...]
10:00 am R-MA February Open House @ Randolph-Macon Academy
R-MA February Open House @ Randolph-Macon Academy
Feb 17 @ 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
R-MA February Open House @ Randolph-Macon Academy
Randolph-Macon Academy invites you to come discover what “The Power of Rise” can do for your child at the next open house on Monday, February 17th. Tours begin promptly at 10:00 am and 1:00 pm.[...]
Feb
18
Tue
4:30 pm Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Feb 18 @ 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Children will explore popular books and book series through S.T.E.M. activities, games, food, and more! Tuesday, February 4 – Children will explore popular books and book series through S.T.E.M. activities, games, food, and more! After[...]
Feb
19
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8:45 am Reaching Out Now Career Day @ Skyline Middle School
Reaching Out Now Career Day @ Skyline Middle School
Feb 19 @ 8:45 am – 2:30 pm
Reaching Out Now Career Day @ Skyline Middle School
Reaching Out Now (RON) together with Skyline Middle School to host its 1st annual Career Day, “Passport to Success.” Joining with area business leaders, Warren County Public School, as we come together to empower our[...]
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Feb 19 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, January 29 and Thursday, January 30: Puppies are cuddly! Puppies are cute! Our stories, songs, and craft will be about our friends, the puppies! Siblings[...]
Feb
20
Thu
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Feb 20 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, January 29 and Thursday, January 30: Puppies are cuddly! Puppies are cute! Our stories, songs, and craft will be about our friends, the puppies! Siblings[...]
Feb
21
Fri
9:00 am Entrepreneurship Workshop @ Luray-Page County Center
Entrepreneurship Workshop @ Luray-Page County Center
Feb 21 @ 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Entrepreneurship Workshop @ Luray-Page County Center
Are you considering independent, corporate, or social entrepreneurship, or being groomed to take over a family business? Then, this workshop is for you! Topics to be covered: Characteristics of a Successful Entrepreneur The Importance of[...]
Feb
22
Sat
11:00 am Art Stars @ Samuels Public Library
Art Stars @ Samuels Public Library
Feb 22 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Art Stars @ Samuels Public Library
Art Stars is a special needs art discovery program. This program is for ages 8 and up. Registration begins January 22. Participants should have a caregiver or attendant present in the program.
1:00 pm Moving Mindfully: Finding and ke... @ Ruby Yoga
Moving Mindfully: Finding and ke... @ Ruby Yoga
Feb 22 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Moving Mindfully: Finding and keeping your footing @ Ruby Yoga
Join Ruby Yoga and Deborah Romero of Optimal Posture LLC for a series of workshops on moving more mindfully through life using the principles of yoga and the Alexander Technique. Slated for Saturday, Jan. 25,[...]