As a nation, we are concerned with ambulance-chasing lawyers, frivolous lawsuits, and the increased costs of doing business. Much of the dialogue, however, comes from insurance companies, big-business, and soundbyte-seeking media.
Of course, lawmakers get into the act. A North Carolina bill recently proposed limiting lawsuits under certain circumstances, including limits to “a company’s liability if it developed a product under government-approved guidelines.” Interestingly, this would appear to apply to drugs approved by the FDA. Most people believe that the FDA independently researches, studies and evaluates drugs submitted for approval. However, the FDA typically only reviews the research submitted by drug manufacturers, and does not have the resources to perform much more.
Furthermore, the goal of reducing frivolous lawsuits–those lawsuits without merit–would not be realized. Instead, it would reduce all lawsuits in these areas to an absolute zero. A quick review of harmful drugs and devices over the past few years demonstrates that people were truly injured by dangerous drugs–pain pumps, Accutane, Granuflo, Baycol, Rezulin, and Fen Phen, to name a few.