Forgive a quick detour from the world of the emergency department. We all know elderly folks who carry a full page, single-spaced computerized list of their medications in their wallet. I’ll never be one of them because there won’t be any drugs. Listening to Hugh Hewitt discuss the Vioxx verdict today cemented my belief that sanity has, indeed, left the jury system
The plaintiff’s win is our collective loss. By awarding one-quarter billion dollars in damages, the Vioxx jury ensured more than the plaintiff’s financial security. They’ve contributed to the increase in drug-related lawsuits that are sure to follow as personal injury firms assess the financial incentive of similar cases. They have helped smother the incentive of research and development departments to develop new medications because of increasing financial vulnerability.
Merck lost the case, but we are the ones who will pay. When you receive your next prescription and you are paying a day’s wage for a two-week supply, remember this verdict. When you are suffering from a health problem and are unable choose a medication pulled off the market because it became too expensive to litigate, remember this verdict. When you are given a diagnosis for which no treatment is available because there has been no research in that area, remember this verdict.
The obscene amount awarded in the recent case against Merck is another nail in the drug companies’ coffin of liability. Until we legislate some form of protection against these unbelievable awards, the personal injury law firms will keep circling drug companies like vultures over an incapacitated animal.
“Remember what the Dormouse said….
Feed your head…….”