Friday, September 28, 2007

Are Medtronic and Pfizer bringing home new trouble for medical device and biotech companies?

[Click on Post Title for Link to External Article]

Follow the link for the law blog that details in a simple way what the supreme court has agreed to review for Medtronic and Pfizer. There are two separate lawsuits that aim to hold Medtronic and Pfizer responsible for damages arising out of their products. Both lawsuits were filed at the state level and both companies probably have legal teams that think Civics 101 is enough to get rid of the lawsuits.

Well, maybe, maybe not.

If it is, good for both companies. And maybe for other medical device companies, some, which may also use it tactfully to abdicate responsibility.

What if it is not?

What if the federal pre-emption is narrowed down by the Supreme Court?

What if the Supreme Court says that the FDA is not equipped to deal with such lawsuits?

That would be fun now, wouldn't it?

The premise here is that it is tough enough to innovate and make something work, and work ever so safely in the human body. Medical Device companies and Biotech companies have it hard enough with this challenge (yes, its a beaten, dead horse, but it still needs to be beaten over and over to get it into some people's heads).

I am not at all suggesting that victims should not sue companies anymore. They will continue to do so and sooner or later they will prevail. It would behoove companies like Medtronic and Pfizer to settle such cases instead of trying to pull a "Law and Order: Corporate Intent" on the rest of us.

I have nothing against either firm, but I think they might be risking passing on their bad luck to smaller medical device firms who may soon need to be looking for deeper pockets to keep paying their legal fees.

Would federal regulations work? I don't think so. It only seems to be a way to avoid lawsuits at the state level without actually framing a legal network that avails victims of what they deserve. Plus the FDA is barely functional, trying to live up to its current mandates. 100 years of existance have still not prepared the organization to run smoothly.

And, oh well, even if the Supreme Court favors Medtronic and Pfizer it doesn't look pretty for the victims. And, that again, is why, huge corporate firms "that put their customers first" should really try to do that...

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