Companies to Pay More Than $1 Million to Hawaii for Hindering Release of Generic Versions to Consumers

Attorney General Doug Chin today announced a $125 million multistate settlement with Cephalon and affiliated companies (Cephalon). The settlement ends a multistate investigation into anticompetitive conduct by Cephalon to protect the monopoly profits it earned from its wakefulness drug, Provigil. That conduct delayed generic versions of Provigil from entering the market for several years.

Cephalon

The settlement includes $35 million for distribution to consumers in 48 states plus the District of Columbia who bought Provigil. Based on pharmaceutical retail sales data, Hawaii consumers’ share of the $35 million is estimated to be $160,000, depending on the number and quality of claims submitted. In addition, Hawaii is expected to receive about $1,020,543.05. This amount consists of $400,994.62 to compensate for Provigil purchases by certain state entities or authorized purchases from state contracts and $619,548.43 for Hawaii’s share of disgorgement and costs.

As patent and regulatory barriers that prevented generic competition to Provigil neared expiration, Cephalon intentionally defrauded the Patent and Trademark Office to secure an additional patent, which a court subsequently deemed invalid and unenforceable. Before that court finding, Cephalon was able to delay generic competition for nearly six years by filing patent infringement lawsuits against all potential generic competitors. Cephalon settled those lawsuits in 2005 and early 2006 by paying the generic competitors to delay sale of their generic versions of Provigil until at least April 2012. Because of that delayed entry, consumers, states, and others paid hundreds of millions more for Provigil than they would have if generic versions of the drug had launched by early 2006, as expected.

This multistate settlement was facilitated by litigation brought against Cephalon by the Federal Trade Commission. In May 2015, the FTC settled its suit against Cephalon for injunctive relief and $1.2 billion, which was paid into an escrow account. The FTC settlement allowed for those escrow funds to be distributed for settlement of certain related cases and government investigations, such as those of the 48 states.

The settlement is subject to court review, including providing consumers with notice and an opportunity to participate in, object to, or opt out of settlement. The states expect court review will be provided by Judge Mitchell Goldberg of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, who is currently overseeing other litigation concerning Provigil against Cephalon and others.

Two Die in Two-Car Crash After Auto Theft and Kidnapping Incident Reported

A man and a woman in a stolen car died in a two-car crash Thursday (August 4) on the Mohouli Extension near Kukuau Street in Hilo.
Mohouli Wreck
At 12:45 p.m., police received a call reporting an auto theft and possible kidnapping. The victim reported that his car had been stolen from Kekaulike Street in Downtown Hilo and that his friend had been asleep in the car before it was stolen.

Police made a traffic stop on the stolen vehicle at the intersection of Kaumana Drive and the Mohouli Extension. When the officer exited his vehicle and approached the stolen sedan, the sedan sped away, turning south onto the Mohouli Extension.

The officer returned to his car, followed the stolen vehicle, lost sight of it momentarily and then encountered two crashed sedans. A witness reported that the stolen car had crossed the center line, slid into the other sedan and then overturned.

A man and a woman in the stolen car were both dead at the scene. They have not yet been identified. An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

The sole occupant of the other car, a 39-year-old Keaʻau woman, was taken to Hilo Medical Center in critical condition.

Police later learned that the owner’s male friend, who had been sleeping in the stolen car, had managed to jump out immediately after the male driver entered and took control of the vehicle.

The crash is being investigated by the Area I Traffic Enforcement Unit. The auto theft is being investigated by the Area I Criminal Investigations Section. An administrative review will also be conducted, as is standard policy in any police pursuit.

Police ask that anyone who witnessed the crash to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Acting Lieutenant Grant Todd at 961-2385 or grant.todd@hawaiicounty.gov.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Traffic Signal Energizing, Testing, and Activation for Kapiolani St. and Lanikaula St. Intersection

The Department of Public Works Traffic Division will be working on the new traffic signals at the Lanikāula St. and Kapi‘olani St. intersection on Tuesday, August 9, 2016.

Kapiolani Traffic Signal

The traffic signals will be energized and tested for functionality.  Special off-duty police officers will be posted at the intersection to facilitate traffic movement during the working hours of 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., weather conditions permitting.

Motorists are advised to drive with caution as the signals will be placed in flash mode for 24 hours (flashing yellow light on Lanikāula St. and flashing red light on Kapi‘olani St.).  The traffic signals on all four approaches to the intersection will be operational on Wednesday, August 10, 2016, pending the completion of functionality testing.  Work is still in progress on the Kapi‘olani St. Extension between Mohouli St. and Lanikāula St. and will remain closed to through traffic.

The County also reminds the public that the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo is in the process of their own road improvement project on Kapi‘olani St. approximately fronting the bus stop to Kāwili St. on the mauka side of the road.  Motorists are advised to drive with caution as road crews and heavy machinery will be in that area.

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding.

If there are any questions or concerns, please call Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist, at 961-8787.

New Map Released of Lava Flow

This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone lava flow field. The area of the active flow field as of July 26 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the active flow as mapped on August 2 is shown in red. Lava reached the ocean on the morning of July 26. Older Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows (1983–2016) are shown in gray.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The blue lines over the Puʻu ʻŌʻō flow field are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 2013 digital elevation model (DEM), while the blue lines on the rest of the map are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 DEM (for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/). Steepest-descent path analysis is based on the assumption that the DEM perfectly represents the earth’s surface. DEMs, however, are not perfect, so the blue lines on this map can be used to infer only approximate flow paths. The base map is a partly transparent 1:24,000-scale USGS digital topographic map draped over the 1983 10-m digital elevation model (DEM).

Justin Bieber Leaves the Big Island – His Pals Were…

Well Justin Bieber left the Big Island last night after being here for a few days staying at Waterfalling Estate.

bieberbyeA lot of folks were asking who the girls were that were with him.  I have learned that one of the girls is Australian bikini model Sahara Ray and another of the ladies was Meredith Hennessy.

Bieber Girls
Fashion designer Cedric Benaroch was the guy that was seen in many of the pictures while he was on the island.  Bieber has removed this picture from his Instagram of the two of them together.
Bieber and Cedric
Benaroch later posted a photo on Instagram confirming they were leaving Hawaii by saying “Peace Out Hawaii”.
aloha bieber

Nasdaq Welcomes First Hawaiian, Inc. to Stock Market

First Hawaiian, Inc. (Nasdaq:FHB), parent of First Hawaiian Bank, visited the Nasdaq MarketSite in Times Square today in celebration of its initial public offering (IPO) on The Nasdaq Stock Market.  This marks the first IPO from the Aloha State since 2012.

First Hawaiian Bank rings The Nasdaq Stock Market Closing Bell

First Hawaiian Bank rings The Nasdaq Stock Market Closing Bell

Founded in 1858 as Bishop & Co., First Hawaiian Bank is Hawaii’s oldest and largest bank. Consistently ranked in the top tier of all U.S. banks, First Hawaiian is a full-service bank providing personal, private and business banking services including equipment leasing, automobile financing, mortgage and commercial lending, merchant services, trust, insurance, wealth management and retirement planning.

“With today’s event, we return to our roots as a public company traded on Nasdaq, where First Hawaiian’s predecessor holding company was previously listed from 1974 until 1998,” said First Hawaiian Chairman and CEO Robert Harrison.  “Our senior management team knows that we stand on the shoulders of our employees past and present. Our mahalos go out to our 2,100 employees, as well as to our customers in Hawaii, Guam and Saipan who trust us with their business every day.”

“Since their founding over 150 years ago, the people of First Hawaiian Bank have firmly dedicated themselves to the service of their clients – delivering great ideas and banking solutions,” said Nelson Griggs, Executive Vice President, Listing Services, Nasdaq. “As a company that also values ambition, Nasdaq is proud that First Hawaiian Bank has chosen to join our family of the world’s most admired companies. We look forward to their continued growth and success following today’s initial public offering.”

Hawaii Expresses Concerns Over ESSA Regulations and Implementation Timing

In a joint letter to the U.S. Department of Education, Governor David Ige, Hawaii State Board of Education (BOE) Chairperson Lance Mizumoto and Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi voiced concerns about the draft regulations and implementation timeline for the Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA). The letter was sent as part of the public comment period for proposed federal regulations, and in response to BOE action on Aug. 16, 2016 in support of a joint letter protesting the implications of the draft regulations.

Click to read the letter

Click to read the letter

“The draft regulations being put forward appear to be more prescriptive than the spirit of the law. ESSA was initially returning more control to the states,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “In the letter, we shared our concerns over proposed regulations, which are overly restrictive and harken back to No Child Left Behind’s one-size-fits-all approach. Also, the proposed implementation timeline is unrealistic and not conducive to school improvement. Our schools will be developing their academic and financial plans in Spring 2017 in time for the start of school for teachers on Aug. 1, 2017.”

This is the first of several anticipated public comment periods for various components of the ESSA law during the rulemaking process. HIDOE anticipates submitting the state’s ESSA plan for funding to the U.S. Department of Education by the March 6, 2017 early deadline in preparation for required implementation during the 2017-18 school year.

Hawaii is in the process of taking advantage of flexibility in the ESSA law by reviewing and updating its Strategic Plan so that the state’s plan guides federal planning efforts.

Hawaii has served as a model for other states in regards to the outreach being done to solicit feedback for the Strategic Plan, which will inform our state’s ESSA plan for federal funding. As part of the review and extension of the joint Strategic Plan with the BOE, HIDOE has been collecting feedback from schools, students, parents and the community that will be incorporated into the ESSA state plan. This includes 1,429 survey responses as well as 108 diverse focus groups conducted statewide with an estimated 1,201 participants. Additionally, the BOE and HIDOE are taking into account the Governor’s ESSA Task Force’s work as part of the community feedback to shape the Strategic Plan and state’s ESSA plan for federal funding.

“While Hawaii is ahead of the curve with our rigorous academic standards and Strive HI accountability system, there is still room for growth and improvement and we are reaching out to the community for feedback,” said Assistant Superintendent Tammi Chun. “We will continue our community outreach for the joint Strategic Plan through community meetings from August through October, information gathered will also be considered for the ESSA state plan.”

The first BOE community meeting about the Strategic Plan review and update is Wednesday, Aug. 3 in Waimea, Hawaii Island. For more information about tomorrow’s meeting, visit www.hawaiiboe.net.

For more information about ESSA and its impact in Hawaii, as well as the HIDOE and BOE joint Strategic Plan, visit www.hawaiipublischools.org.

“Active Shooter” Presentation in Keaau

The Hawaiʻi Police Department will make an “active shooter” presentation in Keaʻau on Monday, August 15.
Active Shooter
The presentation, which is open to the public, will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Keaʻau Community Center, located behind the Keaʻau police substation.

It is designed to help individuals increase their survivability should they encounter an active shooter or other type of active violent incident. Police will provide information on previous incidents of mass violence, recent events, best practices for those caught in such situations, law enforcement’s response, and how to work together as a community toward prevention. They will also provide additional resources for participants so they can continue their education on this topic, followed by a question-and answer segment.

Persons unable to attend may obtain “active shooter” information by viewing the “Active Shooter/Violence Awareness” page on the Hawaiʻi Police Department’s website (www.hawaiipolice.com) under the “Services” tab.

Self-Supply Solar a New Option for Homeowners

A new kind of rooftop solar system that enables households to generate their own electricity and to potentially store energy for use after the sun goes down is now being approved by the Hawaiian Electric Companies and installed on island homes.

Tesla Solar PaneThe new systems, believed to be the first of their kind in the U.S., are being installed under Hawaiian Electric Companies’ Customer Self-Supply Program, an alternative to the popular Customer Grid-Supply Program.

The systems are being developed specifically for the Hawaii market and use new inverter technology to provide power to the home but prevent any excess electricity from being exported to the grid. That’s important because, unlike the interconnected power grids on the mainland, there’s a physical limit to the amount of electricity that can be put on island grids at any given moment.

A growing number of these self-supply systems, including products sold by SolarCity, Sunrun, Vivint Solar and RevoluSun, now meet the specifications set by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC). Hawaiian Electric has been working with these companies to develop standard technical specifications that will qualify systems for an expedited approval and potentially faster installation.

The PUC created the Customer Self-Supply Program as an alternative to the grid-supply program, especially once the grid-supply capacity limits established by the commission were met.

The island’s first approved self-supply rooftop system was recently turned on at a home in Honolulu. Sixteen others on Oahu have been approved by Hawaiian Electric. Maui Electric has approved seven self-supply systems that are awaiting installation.

“Generating electricity, storing it, and using the energy on-site is the new normal. This product will help make the grid stronger and more reliable,” said Jon Yoshimura, director of policy and electricity markets for SolarCity, which recently installed a self-supply system with batteries at a home in Manoa.

“Hawaiian Electric has been an effective partner, working with us to streamline the approval process for this new product. We look forward to bringing more Smart Energy Home solutions to Hawaii, which will help the state achieve its goal of 100% renewable energy by 2045.”

The Customer Grid-Supply program, which credits customers for the excess electricity they send to the grid, is still available on Oahu, though space is going fast. Maui Electric recently reached the capacity limit set by the PUC and Hawaii Island is nearing the limit, but self-supply is available.

For Oahu customers who choose the grid-supply program, Hawaiian Electric recommends a “right-sized” system calculated for the household’s actual energy use rather than an oversized system designed mainly to sell electricity to the grid.

Oversized systems cost more and can potentially export more electricity than the homeowner will receive credit for on their electric bill, since credits expire at the end of each month. Also, the more large systems that are installed on each island, the less room that will be left on the grid for customers who may want to install solar in the future.

“It’s been five years since rooftop solar really took off in Hawaii and more than 77,000 customers have made the choice to use it,” said Jim Alberts, senior vice president of customer service at Hawaiian Electric. “The shift to self-supply is an important evolutionary step to ensure that the rooftop solar option remains sustainable, cost-effective and available to some of the 85 percent of customers who don’t have it.”

For more information, including how to right-size a system, go to https://www.hawaiianelectric.com/clean-energy-hawaii/going-solar