Thursday, January 15, 2009

Opposition to Georgia tort reform plan

Yesterday I reported on Georgia Governor's plan for tort reform (see below). Today, the Atlanta Journal Constitution has responded with an editorial opposing it. It states, in part: "[The Governor] proposes to grant drug companies immunity from legal action if the drug in question was approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration. Vioxx and the other three drugs all had FDA approval. All were later pulled from the market after being linked to sometimes fatal problems, including hypertension, stroke, liver failure, severe allergic skin reactions and cardiac failure. FDA approval doesn’t guarantee that a drug will be 100 percent safe. The agency acknowledges that approved drugs arrive on the market with the possibility of unforeseen risks. The question is who should bear those risks —- patients or pharmaceutical companies? Under Perdue’s plan, consumers bear all the risks. The governor is willing to barter away the common-law right of product liability actions to entice biotech companies to the state. . . . . Rather than casting the FDA and the tort system as opponents, they should be seen as dual regulators of a billion-dollar industry that impacts the lives and health of millions of Americans. Liability laws exert pressure on Big Pharma to maintain the highest safety standards and to act fast to yank products when problems arise. And when the FDA gets it wrong, the tort system offers insurance to harmed consumers that they can seek corrective justice." The full editorial is available here. Thanks to Bill Childs of TortsProf Blog for the information

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