We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The reason I cannot get any more flu shots this winter is because American drug companies no longer wish to make them. Why? Fear of law suits and side-effects. If a company is sued and hassled out of existence, they won't make anything for us, will they?
When the whiners, hypochondriacs and con-artists team up with the trial lawyers for their mutual enrichment, watch out.
The reason I can no longer prescribe an excellent drug, Vioxx? Law suits. Same with silicone breast implants for post-mastectomy people, now finally available again after driving Dow Corning bankrupt (because the whole legal case was a con job). My list goes on and on. Oh - and for a really big one - Tamiflu. Who's making it? Not one of the great US pharmaceutical innovators, no - Roche. Buy some, if you can - good luck.
If law suits drive Merck out of business, there will be two big losers: the American patient and the shareholders - and a handful of extremely big winners: the lawyer-predators for whom it is no more than PR that they help "the consumer." Pure BS - they help themselves and themselves only. Like that bozo whathisname - the dopey smiley guy with the hairdo and dental work who made many millions from cerebral palsy, as I recall, and ran for VP with cut-and-run Kerry.
You cannot preach to the trial lawyers - it's just a good slip-and-fall game to them. But patients need to know that all medicines and medical procedures have risks and side effects. We may as well just tell you that anything could go wrong with you if you take an aspirin - because it's possible. You could bleed out your stomach, become hypotensive, and have a stroke, then fracture your skull on the bathroom sink as you fall, and break your arm when you land on the floor. It's happened.
There is no benefit in life without a risk - however small. Life is not safe, and bad luck should not require involuntary compensation from your neighbors. Voluntary help? Definitely. Dr. Miller has a good piece on the subject at TCS: One quote:
Regulators’ increasing sensitivity to safety concerns -- sometimes at the expense of the availability of essential drugs -- may have become contagious: Drug manufacturers, too, seem to have begun to “err on the side of safety” to a degree that causes safe and effective drugs to be taken off the market voluntarily.
Consider Tysabri, only the sixth medication approved -- and the first in several years -- for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a debilitating autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system. The stunning results of the drug’s testing in clinical trials -- the frequency of clinical relapses was cut by more than half -- induced FDA to grant accelerated approval last fall. MS patients eagerly put their names on waiting lists to get the medicine.
But this ray of hope for MS sufferers was short-lived. By the time that several thousand patients were being treated with Tysabri, three confirmed cases of a rare neurological disorder caused by a virus were reported. (Because the drug suppresses certain aspects of the immune response, regulators, clinicians and the drug’s developers had from the beginning been sensitive to the possibility of infections as a side effect.)
Immediately -- some would say prematurely -- the manufacturers of the medicine voluntarily halted production and distribution and withdrew Tysabri from the market. MS victims and many neurologists were bitterly disappointed.