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Endo Agrees to State Enforcement of Injunctive Relief After Attempting to Block Generic Drugs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 19, 2019
 
 

ENDO AGREES TO STATE ENFORCEMENT OF INJUNCTIVE RELIEF AFTER ATTEMPTING TO BLOCK GENERIC DRUGS

States create enforcement fund to stop future anticompetitive conduct.



SALT LAKE CITY – Attorney General Sean D. Reyes announced today that Utah and 17 other states reached an agreement with Endo International plc and Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc., which will parallel the parties’ prior agreement with the Federal Trade Commission, prohibiting patent settlement agreements that illegally delay competition by generic drugs.

Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a for-profit Delaware corporation that markets and sells Lidoderm and other drugs throughout the United States. Endo International plc is the parent company to Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc. with global headquarters in Ireland and U.S. headquarters in Pennsylvania. 

Endo is accused of illegal conduct due to its participation in an agreement to protect a monopoly on Lidoderm. Lidoderm is the brand-name for lidocaine patches, which is a transdermal patch widely prescribed for relief of pain associated with post-herpetic neuralgia, a common complication of shingles.

The agreement focused on injunctive relief and preventing future conduct. The injunction prohibits Endo from paying or incentivizing a generic drug maker to delay entry into the drug market or from researching, developing, manufacturing, marketing or selling any drug product. The states will use settlement funds to enforce the injunctive terms and to stop other anticompetitive conduct within the pharmaceutical industry, which has been in the news, in the courts, and before Congress due to concerns over drug prices and repeated antitrust allegations.

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AG Reyes Statement on the Loss of Sergeant First Class Elliott J. Robbins

July 18, 2019

The American flag is flying at half-staff across the State of Utah to honor the life and service of Sergeant First Class Elliott Jerome Robbins. Sgt. Robbins died in service to our nation in Afghanistan on June 30, 2019 and is being laid to rest in the Ben Lomond Cemetery in North Ogden. Attorney General Sean D. Reyes issued the following statement:

“The AG’s Office joins fellow Utahns in mourning the loss of Sergeant First Class Robbins and honoring his ultimate sacrifice. A patriot to the end, he will be remembered for the many lives he saved as a Green Beret and decorated medic overseas on multiple deployments.

“My wife Saysha, who is from North Ogden, and I send our deepest condolences to his loved ones, his wife and his baby boy during this time of mourning and indescribable loss. May God bless his family and our nation he so valiantly served.”

Sgt. 1st Class Robbins’ funeral will take place at St. James Catholic Church and a burial with military honors will follow at Ben Lomond Cemetery. The services are open to the public.


In the News: AG Training Director Discusses Officer-Involved Shootings

July 17, 2019

On Monday, a Salt Lake City police officer was hit by friendly fire during a wellness check. Utah Attorney General’s Office Training Director Scott Carver, who trains potential police officer recruits using the VirTra simulator, sat down with KUTV yesterday to discuss officer-involved shootings.

According to Carver, a Utah police officer hurt by friendly fire is not common. “This was an extremely rare circumstance,” said Carver.

Although Carver isn’t involved with the case, he will follow it.

“We are always looking at the cases of officer-involved shootings and what took place there from a training perspective so that if there is a benefit that we can gain from that for our training processes, that’s what we want to do,” said Carver


Communications Director Saves Tracy Aviary Raven

July 16, 2019

About a month ago, a large black bird showed up outside the Capitol Hill executive offices of Utah’s Attorney General. It was strange to see this large bird—about the size of a cat—just perched on the window and apparently not afraid of our ogling and tapping on the window. And there were mixed reactions from all of us the other side of the glass. 

“Look how big (he) is!” (People always assume a stray animal is a male).

“What’s he doing here?” 

“Why doesn’t he fly away?”

“Is this good luck or bad luck?”

Some in the office even started calling the bird “Edgar” as in Edgar Allan Poe who wrote the poem “The Raven” in 1845, a work often noted for documenting a distraught lover’s descent into madness.

It turns out that OUR raven wasn’t ominous or mysterious. In fact, SHE is a female, friendly trained bird named Cash that was missing from the Tracy Aviary.  

For a few weeks, Cash managed to work her way into the lives of the people in our office who always wondered why she would just hop from the rail to the window and hang out, looking at the people on the other side of the glass. We snapped pictures, left croutons for her to eat, enjoyed her friendly presence. Cash entranced tourists who also noticed this unusual sight.

Initially, no one knew that Cash was hanging out at the Capitol after being chased away from the Aviary by hawks as her handlers were training her a month ago. I called Tracy Aviary because her appearance at the Capitol met all the criteria in the ‘Missing Raven’ notification online. On Saturday, her handlers came to the Capitol, and she flew to them before they even saw her. We’re all happy and grateful that she is back where she belongs, but we in the AG’s office must confess we are a little sad that our mysterious visitor won’t be perched outside our windows anymore. 

 But we can always visit her at the Aviary!

Below is a video taken by Chief of Staff Ric Cantrell:


North Logan man charged with raping a child after luring her to his apartment using Snapchat

July 12, 2019

Yesterday, a North Logan man was charged with raping a 13-year-old girl after he lured her into his apartment by pretending to be one of her friends on Snapchat.

While the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force isn’t directly associated with this specific case, Regional Supervisor Alan Connor emphasized that these incidents happen far too often. Additionally, he urges parents to be aware of their children’s interactions on the internet and for children and teens to practice internet safety.

“When we’re talking about kids, they’re easily manipulated. They want to be liked, they want to be popular. The confirmation of those feelings and those emotions are what predators jump on,” Connor said. “As the parents, we need to be informed. We need to go out there and look and see what our kids are doing. If we don’t understand it we have to educate ourselves.”

Report child pornography by contacting the ICAC Tip Line at 801.281.1211 or your local law enforcement agency.


Media coverage:

ABC4: North Logan man uses Snapchat to lure teen to apartment and rape her, documents state

Deseret News: Northern Utah man uses Snapchat to lure teen to his apartment, rape her, charges state

Fox13: Cache County man deceived teen girl on Snapchat before raping her, police say

Salt Lake Tribune: Logan man charged with luring a 13-year-old to his apartment and raping her

KUTV: Police: North Logan man raped minor, lured her by posing as girl on Snapchat


Health Insurer Premera Settles Suit for Failing to Protect Sensitive Data

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 11, 2019

Health Insurer Premera Settles Suit for Failing to Protect Sensitive Data

Premera Breach Affects Millions Nationwide; Including about 50,000 Utahns

OLYMPIA, WA — Premera Blue Cross, the largest health insurance company in the Northwest has settled a lawsuit over failing to fix known security problems that exposed personal information of more than 10.4 million consumers nationwide, including approximately 50,000 Utahns to a hacker.

Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes and 29 other attorneys general filed a settlement today that requires Premera Blue Cross to pay $10 million total to states, over its insufficient data security and failure to secure the consumer data, including protected health and personal information.

A nearly year-long investigation focused on Premera’s cybersecurity vulnerabilities that gave a hacker unrestricted access to the data for almost a year. Under the settlement, Premera will:

  • Pay a total of $10 million to states.  (Premera settled a class action lawsuit for $74 million earlier this year.)
  • The company is also required to implement specific data security controls intended to protect personal health information, annually review its security practices and provide data security reports to the attorneys general.
  • Premera’s $10 million payment to the states is in addition to any payment from the proposed class action settlement, which was filed in federal court in Oregon but not yet finalized by the court.

“This was clearly a violation of Federal and Utah privacy laws and is simply unacceptable,” said Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes.  “Even worse, but the company knew about the deficient data security for nearly a year and didn’t take necessary measures to fix it.  Consumers deserve much, much better.”

The complaint asserts that the company failed to meet its obligations under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Utah Protection of Personal Information Act (UPPIA) by not addressing known cybersecurity vulnerabilities that gave a hacker unrestricted access to protected health information for almost a year.

From May 5, 2014 until March 6, 2015, a hacker had unauthorized access to the Premera network containing sensitive personal information, including private health information, Social Security numbers, bank account information, names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, member identification numbers and email addresses.

The hacker took advantage of multiple known weaknesses in Premera’s data security. For years prior to the breach, cybersecurity experts and the company’s own auditors repeatedly warned Premera of its inadequate security program, yet the company accepted many of the risks without fixing its practices.

The complaint asserts that Premera misled consumers nationwide about its privacy practices in the aftermath of the data breach. After the breach became public, Premera’s call center agents told consumers there was “no reason to believe that any of your information was accessed or misused.” They also told consumers that “there were already significant security measures in place to protect your information,” even though multiple security experts and auditors warned the company of its security vulnerabilities prior to the breach.

Under HIPAA, Premera is required to implement administrative, physical and technical safeguards that reasonably and appropriately protect sensitive consumer information. Premera repeatedly failed to meet these standards, leaving millions of consumer’s sensitive data vulnerable to hackers for nearly a year.

Today’s settlement also requires Premera to:

  • Ensure its data security program protects personal health information as required by law
  • Regularly assess and update its security measures
  • Provide data security reports, completed by a third-party security expert approved by the multistate coalition, to the Washington State Attorney General’s Office
  • Hire a chief information security officer, a separate position from the chief information officer. The information security officer must be experienced in data security and HIPAA compliance and will be responsible for implementing, maintaining and monitoring the company’s security program.
  • Hold regular meetings between the chief information security officer and Premera’s executive management. The information security officer must meet with Premera’s CEO every two months and inform the CEO of any unauthorized intrusion into the Premera network within 48 hours of discovery.

Today’s multistate settlement against Premera involves Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, and Washington.

A copy of the settlement can be viewed here.

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Independence Day: Celebrating 243 Years of Freedom

July 4, 2019

On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was finalized, setting forth a revolutionary precedent that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This notion that men and women receive rights directly from God rather than through despotic intermediaries promoted the idea of a government created by the people, for the people that has stood the tests of time and tribulation.

Today, as we celebrate our freedoms and liberties with fireworks, parades, festivities, family, and friends, the Utah Attorney General’s Office invites you to join us in remembering those who fought for our independence and self-government: our Founding Fathers and those in our militaries, and their families. Let us honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to keep our homes, families, and communities safe and free.

God bless the United States of America. God bless the great State of Utah, and each of you and your families. It is our privilege in the AG’s Office to protect and serve. Please be extra cautious and careful on the roads this holiday weekend.


Human Trafficking in Utah

July 3, 2019

Human trafficking is a $150 billion industry, and it’s happening right here in Utah. In 2018, the Utah Attorney General’s Office conducted 49 human trafficking investigations, prosecuted 8 cases, and served 44 victims.

Rather than using ropes and chains to confine and control their victims, traffickers use “invisible ropes” involving complex manipulative tactics to control their victims, which can make it difficult to recognize human trafficking.

For information on how you can recognize and report human trafficking visit: https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/human-trafficking-awareness-day-2019/

To report tips regarding human trafficking, please contact the Utah Attorney General’s Office:

  • Utah Human Trafficking Tipline: 801-200-3443
  • Internet Crimes Against Children Tipline: 801-281-1211

Sextortion: A Serious & Devastating Crime

July 2, 2019

Gabe Ryan Gilbert

A warrant was issued yesterday for the arrest of 19-year-old Gabe Ryan Gilbert for sextortion and/or coercion of another person. The charges are comprised of five counts of aggravated sexual extortion of a child, a first-degree felony, and four counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, a second-degree felony, after he allegedly contacted and threated juvenile girls on social media for nude photos.

The Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force started the investigation in August after receiving a report from Snapchat that a user had been sexual extorting minors online.

“When I examined the results of the search warrant from Snapchat it was obvious the user had been engaging in very similar behavior with other underage girls. I identified well over fifty (50) potential victims of this type of sexual extortion,” said an investigator in the charging documents.

Sextortion is a serious crime that occurs when someone threatens to distribute your private, sensitive material if you don’t provide sexual images, favors, or money. Generally, the perpetrator may threaten you or your loved ones unless you comply with their demands. Sextortion has serious and devastating effects on young victims and unfortunately isn’t uncommon with our technological world and various social media platforms where predators and perpetrators lurk.  

Here are some tips to avoid becoming a victim to sextortion and what to do if you become one:

  • Never send compromising images of yourself to anyone, no matter who they are or who they say they are. These images could easily be shared or stolen, even by people you may trust.
  • Turn off your electronic devices and web cameras when you are not using them.
  • Keep our internet safety tips in mind.
  • If you receive sextortion threats, contact law enforcement or tell an adult. You are not alone, and you are not to blame.

The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) is a multi-jurisdictional task force that investigates and prosecutes individuals who use the Internet to exploit children.

ICAC Tip Line: 801.281.1211

ICAC Email: utahicac@agutah.gov


Media Coverage:

Fox 13: Police: Utah man charged with sexual extortion threatened to expose teen girls, send ‘rapists’ to their homes

KUTV: Utah teen accused of sexual extortion of more than 50 girls, court documents state

KSL: Utahn accused in ‘sextortion’ of over 50 teens, charges say

Deseret News: Utahn accused in ‘sextortion’ of over 50 teens, charges say


Utah Opioid Task Force Convenes to Discuss the Opioid Crisis in Utah

June 26, 2019

This week, the Utah Opioid Task Force convened for their quarterly meeting to discuss the opioid crisis in Utah and consider new programs and resources.

Suicide & Opioid Addiction

Cathy Bledsoe from Hope4Utah presented to the Opioid Task Force on Hope Squads, a peer suicide prevention program. Hope Squads are made up of students elected for their kindness. These students are trained by professionals to watch for at-risk students and identify warning signs, provide friendship, and seek help from adults. The Hope Squad model was created in the late 90s by Greg Hudnall, a principal in the Provo School District who realized that too many lives were being lost and peers were an important tool in solving the problem. Data from the Provo School District has shown that these Hope Squads are invaluable in preventing suicide and that since their creation, student suicides have gone down. There are now 207 schools in Utah participating in the Hope Squad program, with new schools joining in all the time.

“Suicide is important to hear and talk about when fighting the opioid crisis,” said Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes. “It’s reaching the root of the problem – that people are in pain and trying to get rid of that pain.”

Along with programs like SafeUT, Hope Squads provide support and resources to students in Utah. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in youths ages 10-19. Utah alone is ranked 5th in the nation for suicide rates.

The Effect of Opioids on Children

Carrie Jensen from the CJC Program and Allison Smith from RIC-AAU urged the importance of understanding the effect that opioids have on children. When their parents are suffering from addiction, children are at a higher risk for having emotional, cognitive, and behavioral problems. Additionally, Jensen and Smith discussed the effects that tobacco can have on children. One particularly worrisome issue is that vape cartridges can be laced with other drugs such as Fentanyl that can have detrimental effects from addiction to death.

U of U Emergency Opioid Use Disorder Program

Peter Taillac, a Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine with the University of Utah, and Paula Cook, an Assistant Clinical Professor of Addiction Medicine with the University of Utah, presented on the recovery programs provided by the University Neuropsychiatric Institute (UNI). They explained that addiction is a chronic illness and needs to be treated this way. Currently, when opioid users end up in the emergency department due to overdose or a willingness to get treatment, doctors give them resources and a referral to treatment, which users rarely follow up on. However, this new model proposes that emergency room doctors provide opioid addicts with a prescription for Buprenorphine, a medication that is used to wean users off of opioids, and schedules a follow-up for the user to meet with counselors at UNI. Users are also paired up with peer support coaches who have successfully overcome addiction and are given a case manager. UNI then provides treatment for free to the user for thirty days, after which they contact a community partner to provide housing and other resources for recovering addicts. Compared to the current practice, this model drastically reduces opioid usage of addicts and increases the number of addicts who continue long-term treatment compared. While this service is currently only available at the University Hospital, Professors Taillac and Cook are working with other medical centers to help them adopt the model.

Best of State – Public Works

This year, the Utah Opioid Task Force was honored to be the recipient of the 2018 Best of State Public Works Award. The Best of State Awards recognize outstanding individuals, organizations and businesses in Utah. More than 100 judges review the nominations and determine the winners based on achievement in the field of endeavor, innovation or creativity in approaches, techniques, methods or processes, and contribution to the quality of life in Utah.

The Utah Opioid Task Force is dedicated to combatting the opioid epidemic in Utah and works in collaboration with groups nationally and across the state to address the effects of opioid addiction. You can help combat the opioid crisis by steering clear of opioids, getting rid of unused meds, reaching out if you or someone you know is suffering from opioid addiction, learning to recognize an overdose, and learning how to use a Naloxone kit. Learn more here.


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