Will You Lose the Right to Sue a Drug Company When You’ve Been Harmed?

by drnorton on September 24, 2012

Prescription drugs, according to the American Medical Association, are the 4th leading cause of American death behind only heart disease, cancer, and stroke. They are killing more people in the U.S. and Canada every year than were lost in the entire Vietnam War.

Why? What will it take to stop this unacceptable loss of life?I’m not exactly certain, but one absolute requirement will be a major awakening of the people of this land, one that makes investing in our health a greater priority and leads more people to “just say no” to expensive drugs that fail to produce real solutions.

Vast numbers of us will have to understand that our health is a gift and that we have the privilege, the power, and the responsibility to nurture it through lifestyle and health care choices that support our self-healing design.

We must also become crystal clear that neither health nor “magic” disease cures will ever come from a pill. That idea is an illusion based in our western “atomistic” (health is achieved by the treating of separate body parts) worldview. It’s also a violation of the “holistic” understanding of the chaotic subtlety of living systems, wherein nobody will ever be able to control the unforeseen side-effects of medication.

An Important Legal Decision

A landmark Supreme Court case will be decided today. Wyeth v. Levine, called the “business case of the century”, will decide if patients have the right to sue pharmaceutical companies for personal injuries stemming from prescription drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Please take the time to read the complete story in the October 29th post of Health Beat by Maggie Mahar at http://www.healthbeatblog.org/. The information about the health- and life-endangering FDA drug approval process is essential for you to understand for your own protection.

“The case is about whether or not the FDA can be second-guessed, even after a patient has been harmed by a product that the agency has approved. If the court rules in favor of Wyeth, the drug company, an FDA stamp of approval on a drug would essentially function as a shield from law suits.”

The agency is extremely understaffed and under funded and is continually being pushed to expedite the drug approval process. However, even without these factors, it’s unreasonable to think that we won’t become aware of drug safety issues after FDA approval and thousands to millions of people are taking a drug. It’s happened over and over already.

For example, according to the September 29, 2008 Hollywood Today in an article entitled Heath Ledger Legacy: Prescription Drugs a Silent Killer, “one out of five new drugs in the U.S. is taken off the market for harming or killing patients or will have the highest level of warning placed on the label. It has become more and more common to discover the dangers of drugs after they have been on the market, despite the FDA approval process, which has been tainted over the years.”

Let’s hope for Supreme Court wisdom that will at least permit our legal system to provide a check and challenge to an industry veering out of control.

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