Wednesday, October 20, 2004

La Grippe of the Trial Lawyers

"In 1967 there were 26 companies making vaccines in the United States. Today there are only four that make any type of vaccine and none making flu vaccine. Wyeth was the last to fall, dropping flu shots after 2002. For recently emerging illnesses such as Lyme disease, there is no commercial vaccine, even though one has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
All this is the result of a legal concept called 'liability without fault' that emerged from the hothouse atmosphere of the law schools in the 1960s and became the law of the land. Under the old 'negligence' regime, you had to prove a product manufacturer had done something wrong in order to hold it liable for damages. Under liability without fault, on the other hand, the manufacturer can be held responsible for harm from its products, whether blameworthy or not. Add to that the jackpot awards that come from pain-and-suffering and punitive damages, and you have a legal climate that no manufacturer wants to risk."

Now add to this the fact that CDC is the major purchaser of flu vaccines and is using Kerry's suggestion of bargaining for lowest possible price. The manufacturers are asked to make a product with limited profit and face lawsuits costing millions.
Is it any wonder that we face shortages of medications needed by so many?

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:27 PM

    Chiron, under penalty of perjury in their 10k, explains why this consolidation is occuring:
    "Substantial consolidation is underway in the global healthcare industry and is expected to produce greater efficiencies and even more intense competition."
    They have new medicines and techniques to make the higher start of product cycle margin.