Monday, February 23, 2009

The Danger of a Wyeth Victory

In an op-ed in the Detroit Free Press, Nan Aron, president of Alliance for Justice, and Ohn Philo, legal director of the Sugar Law Center, wrote, "Since 1995, Michigan has been the only state that prohibits victims of unsafe drugs from going before a jury to seek compensation," and if Wyeth Pharmaceuticals wins its case before the Supreme Court, it "would take away the right of Americans in every state to be compensated when products that are supposed to promote health instead hurt patients." While the industry argues that a drug's approval by the FDA means the company "no longer be held accountable in state court for any harm that product causes, "this 'hit and run' legal theory is like saying that once someone gets a driver's license, that person can't be held legally responsible for ramming your car on the freeway and sending you to the hospital." If the Court finds in Wyeth's favor, drug makers "will lose an important incentive to make sure their products are safe in the first place." Aron and Philo concluded, "Drug companies spend millions of dollars a year lobbying Congress. The rest of us must be heard before it's too late."

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