March 2013 Archives

March 19, 2013

Dram Shop Liability Law Being Considered in Maryland

Dram is a small unit of liquid. Dram shop refers to a bar or tavern where alcoholic beverages are sold. Dram shop liability is when an establishment can be held liable for selling alcohol to visibly intoxicated persons and/or minors, which then cause death or injury to a third party as a result of alcohol-related automobile crashes and other accidents.

Dram shop laws are intended to protect the general public and innocent people from the hazards of serving alcohol to minors and intoxicated patrons. Serving alcohol to minors in the United States is illegal. All 50 states consider it illegal to sell and or serve alcohol to anyone under the age of 21.

The argument against dram shop liability is that a person, drunk or sober, should be responsible for his/her own behavior and actions. Also, bar, tavern and restaurants owners believe that if dram shop laws go into effect in Maryland that insurance premiums would rise, prices for customers would rise and therefore some business would have to close. Also, some people argue that there is no way for a bartender to know if a patron had drank somewhere else before or after coming to their business, or had used drugs.

There are other people who suggest that there has to be some accountability for a situation that is created or made worse by the action or inaction of the bar and or tavern.

The Court of Appeals in Maryland has recently heard several arguments in dram shop liability cases and will start considering whether to implement dram shop liability, which would in turn make bars, taverns and restaurants liable for customers involved in drunk-driving cases. But even without dram shop liability in Maryland, there seems to be a growing trend of Maryland cases recognizing tavern liability when there is additional action or inaction by the tavern that contributes to the occurrence or makes the situation worse. If a Dram Shop law does go into effect in Maryland it would go against over 60 years of judicial precedent.

Maryland and Virginia are a few of the states that still do not have any kind of dram shop liability law in affect. Maryland does not currently hold businesses responsible for serving too much alcohol to its patrons. 44 states in the United States and the District of Columbia do have some form of dram shop laws, although they differ in scope and in the evidence required for holding a business responsible for other's actions.

March 13, 2013

The Antibiotic Zithromax May Cause Fatal Heart Problems

The FDA has issued a warning for the antibiotic drug Zithromax, commonly known as Z-pack or Zmax, due to the fact that the drug can cause disruption to the electrical activity of the heart. An investigation has been conducted since May 2012 to determine the side effects of Zithromax and therefore a warning was issued on Tuesday, March 12, 2013.

Zithromax is an antibacterial drug known as macrolides, which have been known to cause abnormal heart rhythm problems, which can lead to fatal heart conditions. In the research conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine, it was found that patients who took Zithromax were 2.5 times more likely to die due to heart related problems on a 5 day treatment plan when compared to patients using other antibiotics.

Patients with existing medical conditions were at higher risk of heart health issues as those without pre-existing medical conditions. Patients with low blood levels of potassium and/or magnesium, those with slower than normal heart rates and those taking certain drugs used to treat abnormal heart rhythms were at higher risk of complications when using Zithromax.

Pfizer, in 2011, made a profit of over $450 million in Zithromax sales. The drug is usually prescribed to patients suffering from urinary tract infections, tonsillitis and other bacterial infections. Patients should consult with their physicians before taking this drug and doctors should inform patients of the possible heart problem drug side effects of using this drug.