Friday, December 08, 2006

The trial bar searching for new targets.

Two articles in today's Wall Street Journal provide an interesting lesson in the way the trial lawyers treat medical device issues.

The first article,"Panel Supports Drug-Coated Stents " describing the conclusions of an FDA advisory panel on drug-eluding stents (small metal tubes which prop open clogged arteries) which have the potential for keeping arteries open longer then the traditional bare metal stents. An issue at those hearings is whether the drug-coated stents are tied to a small but significant danger of potentially deadly blood clots. This is still being sorted out, but most feel these types of stents have saved a significant number of lives and it is likely there will be more refined indications on who benefits more or less from using these.

Adjacent to this is an article titled "Stents are Galvanizing the Plaintiff's' Bar"
Some patients and lawyers aren't waiting (for studies)to file lawsuits, claiming manufacturers of the devices failed to warn them of the possible clotting risks, and of a severe itching problem caused by a hypersensitive reaction they allege can develop after stent implantation

The case comes amid a surge of lawsuits against pharmaceutical and medical device companies. The shift has taken place as massive lawsuits against tobacco and asbestos companies have dried up....

So as the perpetual feeding trough of the asbestos issue is disappearing, you can see each & every drug and device being eyed as the next cash cow for extorting settlements from industry. If the silicone breast implant debacle of the early 1990's taught us nothing, it's that science should not be established by lawyers in a court but by researchers in clinical trials. Does the plaintiff bar actually care about the truth in these cases as they're furious registering sites like to recruit clients?


Anonymous said...

I know this is your site and you're entitled to your opinion! And I mine (via the comments). I would suggest some balance.

Your words about cash-mongering lawyers suggests that all those who sue are not suffering. Some companies do good things, some do bad. Some people do good, some people do bad. Our justice system isn't perfect, but your comments suggest you believe we don't need one.

Dr. Rob Oliver said...

The point being highlighted here was the irony of the adjacent placement of these two articles. America's class-action lawsuit system and it's often perverse incentives are hard to defend. These cases aren't about altruism or truth, but rather they are serving as a readily used vehical for wealth distrubution by the trial bar.