More Tort Reform favoring the Drug-Making Companies?

In the David vs. Goliath battle between consumers and drug makers in Wisconsin, it seems Goliath is delivering the final blow. Wisconsin lobbyists are looking to pass legislation that would prevent “David” from bringing these drug makers to court over FDA -approved drugs. But they aren’t stopping there! These lobbyists are also looking to give immunity to the makers of certain FDA approved medical devices such as artificial hips and heart valves, as well as immunity from lawsuits stemming from inadequate warning labels on their products.

But how does this affect you? Simple: if you are injured from one of these products, or you happen to die, your family cannot do anything to bring these drug makers to court. Put more lightly, you are screwed!

What if I don’t live in Wisconsin, you might also be asking. Some were speculating that many drug makers would now move to Wisconsin to gain immunity from lawsuits, but others say that is just nonsense. They counter with the statement that these drug makers just would not worry about any cases that occur in Wisconsin, but they aren’t going anywhere.

A spokesman for the American Tort Reform Association added that this legislation would be beneficial for everybody – consumers included – because the money they are not spending for court fees and litigation can “go into research and development, worker training, capital investment, worker benefits, and job creation.” While all that sounds good on paper, it has been proven that those deprivation of rights in Wisconsin lead to zero job growth, and instead only denied people their right to court.

The proposal also would lower the interest rates from a judgment against a drug maker from 12 percent down to 3.25 percent plus one percent. For example, a 12 percent interest rate on a one million dollar judgment is $120,000 a year. When cases get appealed, they can take up to two years to make the dockets. But at 4.25 percent, it’s only $42,500. To drug companies, that’s pocket change.  Which means that they would have no qualms  with appealing any cases that come their way.

The scary thing about this legislation is that if it does indeed get passed, other states could adopt it, too. Last month we posted a blog post about the documentary Hot Coffee, explaining the injustice of tort reform in more detail.

How concerned are you about this legislation? Do you think it’s fair that these massive drug companies get another advantage and the upper hand? Leave your comments on our facebook page, or retweet this article.

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