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 www.harmedbycoatedstent.com to recruit clients?