Legal Side Effects or Legal Remedy?

In May’s issue, Kate Wilcox stated that a recent U.S. Supreme Court’s decision left drug companies “wide open for lawsuits” because it allowed juries to hold negligent drug companies accountable for harm they cause. The principles expressed by the Supreme Court in the Wyeth decision require federal regulations to improve transparency and public participation in the FDA regulatory process. Also, the decision recognized the state civil justice system provides an additional protection against billion dollar pharmeceutical companies when government regulations fail, and therefore agencies must limit their attempt to preempt state law, except in cases when Congress has explicitly stated its intent to do so. The decision upholds laws that are much needed, especially in light of the long standing practice of pharmaceutical companies to sponsor and pay for the, “research,” of the drugs they make. This practice allows the companies to market the drug’s positive effects while concealing the dangerous side effects that harm patients. The Court’s decision upholds important constitutional rights afforded to all citizens in this country and should be welcomed by a journal that promotes scientific study.

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