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Product Liability Drug Company Tort Immunity: A Bad Idea for Victims

Diana Levine won her Drug Liability Lawsuit against pharmaceutical giant Wyeth. Diana was a muscian who lost her arm to gangrene when she was injected with a Wyeth developed drug. Now, her own government has partnered with Wyeth to challenge her victory in the US Supreme Court. Why? Because your President and his well-heeled pro-business cronies want to make the extremely flawed FDA (Food & Drug Administration) the supreme commander and chief of all things related to drug development and safety. They don’t just want to see Diana Levine get first maimed, then totally screwed; they want to screw the entire US drug ingesting population and create national immunity for the drug industry. They want the US Supreme Court to rule that a drug, if FDA approved, is immune from liability, anywhere in the US. This, despite the fact that the FDA’s own advisory board found, last year, that it was “underfunded and understaffed” and was “putting US consumers at risk”. Did you know that drug companies actually pay significant dollars to the FDA to review their application quickly? They have also spent tens of millions in federal lobbying efforts. What a system!

The threat of an expensive lawsuit has long been the only “check and balance” against the trampling of citizen’s rights by large corporate concerns. Right wing legislators, lobbyists, and jurists have been trampling on those rights for years under the fiction that there is “lawsuit abuse” in this country. Our citizens are in danger of losing all of their civil liberties and seem to care less!

Right now, the only state in the US that gives drug companies a total pass on liability is my own state, Michigan, where “tort reform” has virtually destroyed the public’s right to pursue tort litigation in auto accident cases, premises liability cases, medical malpractice cases, government liability cases, and other types of product liability cases. None of these very extreme cases of reform prevent all litigation like drug immunity does. And the result? Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer (who this right wing, pro-business legislation pandered to) moved out of the state, taking thousands of jobs with it. These people are despicable! MIchigan citizens are suffering greatly from this form of corporate welfare. If the Supreme Court votes the way the President wants them to, I strongly suggest that you write your federal congress persons and senators and tell them to legislate against federal drug immunity. Call Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, MIchigan’s Senators and ask them how total drug immunity has worked in Michigan. I also suggest that you consider voting Democratic in November, so that the next Supreme Court Justice appointed is one who will champion the Constitution and all of the people, not just the wealthiest corporations among us.

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