Peter Pitts’ April 3 Another Voice, “Supreme Court ruling could prove disastrous,” argues that we should trust drug companies and the federal government to ensure the safety of tens of thousands of drugs and medical devices on market, and prevent all lawsuits by injured patients.
Yet as past and present officials of the Food and Drug Administration acknowledge, the FDA is vastly under-resourced and under-staffed. It is also tainted by a revolving door of industry lobbyists who write many of these regulations. The New England Journal of Medicine has written in support of litigation in this area, as has the U. S. Supreme Court, which found that litigation provides an important layer of consumer protection supplementing FDA regulation.
Federal regulations should be the minimum safety standard, not the only one. Ultimately, what Pitts is advocating —total immunity for reckless drug companies— is as dangerous as it is unprecedented.
Attorney/Policy AnalystCenter for Justice & Democracy