August 20, 2005, 1:55 am

When Logic And Proportion Have Fallen Sloppy Dead….The Vioxx Verdict

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…….”


  • Rick Moore

    August 20, 2005 at 5:29 pm

    Welcome to the blogosphere. You did a nice job on the post, and with your experience in medicine, you’ll see firsthand how this verdict plays havoc with patient treatment.

  • Gypsybobocowgirl

    August 21, 2005 at 5:35 pm


    Not that the drug companies are saints, but this is not going to be how our healthcare system is fixed.

  • kenju

    August 21, 2005 at 7:39 pm

    I had an experience with Vioxx too, and though I didn’t die from it – I may have to take at least 2 other medicines for the rest of my life – at my expense – because of it. I would just like to get that part paid by Merck.

  • kenju

    August 22, 2005 at 6:18 am

    Kim, I just posted my experience with Vioxx. I’d appreciate your take on it.

  • D Bunny

    August 22, 2005 at 11:17 am

    What you said is so true! Although I too view the drug companies as amoral, greedy bastards, this judgment was just ridiculous.

    You KNOW they’ll cut finding for research/development before they will ever trim their six-figure salaries. You also know that this cost will be passed on to the consumer who can barely afford to buy their meds as it is.

    I’m an RN who has health insurance and works 2 jobs, and I can’t afford my prescriptions. I’m better off than most.

    Hope the people who won this money enjoy it. Their greed will cost everyone else, many times over.

  • janinsanfran

    August 22, 2005 at 11:44 am

    Gosh — since so many folks don’t have access to health insurance, how do you think they are going to get medical care if the companies that hurt them don’t have to pay up? That’s what restricting law suits does; it indemnifies wrong doers and leaves patients hung out to dry.

    Of course if we had health care access for all, these problems wouldn’t exist and I might well be with you on the riculousness of a $250 million verdict.

  • Kim

    August 24, 2005 at 3:19 pm

    I think there can be ways of compensating patients by paying for the health care needed, short of the courts. Or…even using the courts but placing a cap on the amount that can be awarded.

About Me

My name is Kim, and I'm a nurse in the San Francisco Bay area. I've been a nurse for 33 years; I graduated in 1978 with my ADN. My experience is predominately Emergency and Critical Care, and I have also worked in Psychiatry and Pediatrics. I made the decision to be a nurse back in 1966 at the age of nine...

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