Monday, March 9, 2009


Madness accurately describes the U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the lawsuit filed against the drug company Wyeth. One of Wyeth’s products, Phenergan, caused a woman to develop gangrene in an arm, which then had to be amputated. The drug was improperly administered by a hospital physician’s assistant, contrary to the clear, large warning on the label, INADVERTENT INTRA-ARTERIAL INJECTION CAN RESULT IN GANGRENE OF THE AFFECTED EXTREMITY.
The question a reasonable person should ask is, how was Wyeth negligent? Specifically, what should it have done otherwise than what it had already done, which, incidentally, was exactly what the FDA had required it to do by law in order to produce and sell its drug? Should Wyeth arrange to send one of their representatives to a site whenever Phenergan is being administered and have him make sure the drug is being used correctly? That would be cost effective. Or, of course, they could just take the drug off the market. That will be the ultimate effect of this moronic judgment. Less life extending, pain reducing drugs – not as many useful products - less risk taking - less innovation - a lower standard of living.
The Supreme Court vote was 6-3, meaning that one of the normally sane justices voted with the majority. Maybe insanity is contagious.

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