Something was missing in Friday's announcement by the Food and Drug Administration that it was lifting a 14-year ban on silicone-gel breast implants: an apology to Midland's Dow Corning Corp. That's the least the agency could do, since it was the FDA's ban on the implants in 1992 that sparked an onslaught of lawsuits -- 19,000 of them -- and forced Dow Corning into Chapter 11 bankruptcy to keep the company afloat.
Billions of dollars later, Dow Corning emerged from bankruptcy. Perhaps along with an apology, the FDA should have offered some help in paying those billions the company had to shell out to settle its legal claims. Isn't that the least the FDA could do, since it played such a huge role in casting doubt about the silicone-gel implants the agency now is saying are safe?
Dow Corning officials, in their response to the FDA announcement, took the high road, simply pointing out that this case shows "the critical need for science literacy and its importance in making informed decisions, as individuals, as government agencies and as a society."
We'll take it one step further. This case shows the problems that occur when a government agency becomes a pawn for a class-action-eager civil lawsuit system willing to take down an innocent company for the sake of the almighty buck.
The FDA's announcement Friday was welcome, but it was more than a decade overdue.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
One of the true victims perpetrated by the American Silicone Breast Implant crisis of the early 1990's was Dow Corning and it's shareholders. Based on nothing but innuendo, a group strong-armed trial lawyers suited the company out of existence. In fact, Dow is still paying settlement money based on claims we have since demonstrated were largely fiction (to the best of our medical evidence).
You don't suppose the law firms who pocketed tens to hundreds of millions of dollars are offering to refund this now that the FDA has officially come around on this (long after science and the rest of the world did)?
An editorial I found asks this same question.
From the editorial page of Midland Daily News: