Justinian C. Lane, Esq.
Let Justice Be Done, Though the Heavens May Fall

Justinian Lane's Blog

Justinian's Blog

And Speaking of John Engler...

Detroit's Metro Times has an article that theorizes why John Engler is the current President of NAM:

"Let’s suppose your doctor prescribes some spiffy new drug for your pimples, say, or your aching back. Unfortunately, it turns out to have some minor side effect, like it makes you totally blind. Or kills you.

Whoops. Guess the drug company didn’t experiment enough on those rabbits. Or maybe it didn’t work the same on people. It’s always something. But, hey, you can sue the pharmaceutical firm for what it did to you or yours, right?

Sure you can — in every state in the union except one. That’s right. Mississip— uh, Michigan! That’s right. Big pharmaceutical companies have total immunity in this state — as long as their drugs have been approved by the FDA, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration...

We can thank Gov. John Engler for that. Ten years ago, he rammed through a law that prevents us from suing any pharmaceutical company whose drug has been approved by the FDA.

Wonder why he now has a cushy, high-paying job as head of the National Association of Manufacturers?"

The article also describes the efforts of Republican Ed Gaffney to undo the damage done by Engler:

"He was shocked when he learned Michigan wouldn’t allow damaged residents to sue drug companies. “This is tort reform run amok,” Gaffney says. (Emphasis added.)

He has introduced his own legislation. Drug companies would be presumed innocent, but if you could prove their product had harmed you, you could successfully sue. Yet so far, he can’t get the time of day from House Speaker Craig DeRoche, a Novi Republican who’s young enough to be his son.

“I’m sure this would pass if we can ever get it to the floor for a vote,” Gaffney says. Republicans have only a 58-51 majority, and a number of them feel as Gaffney does. As far as I can tell, all the Democrats want the change."

As a former staffer for a Democratic legislator here in Michigan, I can assure you this bill will get a floor vote over Craig DeRoche's dead body.

It's also worth noting that many tort reformers want federal legislation that mirrors Michigan's.  In their eyes, you should never be able to sue a drug manufacturer if the FDA approved the drug - even if it is revealed that the manufacturer falsified data to get the drug approved. 

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