Observations on the world today.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

It's the New Purple Pill Called Caveat Emptor 

The New York Times > Washington > In a Shift, Bush Moves to Block Medical Suits
The Bush administration has been going to court to block lawsuits by consumers who say they have been injured by prescription drugs and medical devices.

The administration contends that consumers cannot recover damages for such injuries if the products have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. In court papers, the Justice Department acknowledges that this position reflects a "change in governmental policy," and it has persuaded some judges to accept its arguments, most recently scoring a victory in the federal appeals court in Philadelphia.


In the Pennsylvania ruling, issued Tuesday, the appeals court threw out a lawsuit filed by Barbara E. Horn, who said her husband had died because of defects in the design and manufacture of his heart pump. The Bush administration argued that federal law barred such claims because the device had been produced according to federal specifications. In its briefs, the administration conceded that "the views stated here differ from the views that the government advanced in 1997," in the United States Supreme Court.

At that time, the government said that F.D.A. approval of a medical device set the minimum standard, and that states could provide "additional protection to consumers." Now the Bush administration argues that the agency's approval of a device "sets a ceiling as well as a floor."
I am the Alpha and the Omega. The beginning and the end.

The government's argument is that this actually helps consumers by giving the drug companies some assurance that releasing their blessed products will not result in lawsuits. This is idiocy.

If a drug company can bribe the FDA into passing a defective product (and I am not saying that this has happened) then the consumer is left with absolutely no protection whatsoever. If the FDA simply makes a mistake (as bureaucracies will) then what recourse will the victim have?

I wouldn't wish ill on anyone, but it would be divinely punctilious if Dick Cheney's pace-maker was to short out during the vice-presidential debate, and John Edwards was to walk up to him and hand him a business card offering his services.


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