Mudcat Café message #1379254 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #62901   Message #1379254
Posted By: GUEST,Amos
14-Jan-05 - 06:39 PM
Thread Name: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
A Gift for Drug Makers
By BOB HERBERT

Published: January 14, 2005


Vioxx, Celebrex, Prozac. ...

With all the problems and the bad publicity that drug companies have been facing recently, you might think that this would not be a good time for the Bush administration to toss yet another bonanza their way.

But the administration is like an ardent lover in its zeal to shower the rich and powerful with every imaginable benefit. So tucked like a gleaming diamond in proposed legislation to curb malpractice lawsuits is a provision that would give an unconscionable degree of protection to firms responsible for drugs or medical devices that turn out to be harmful.

The provision would go beyond caps on certain damages. It would actually prohibit punitive damages in cases in which the drug or medical device had received Food and Drug Administration approval. We know the F.D.A. has failed time and again to ensure that unsafe drugs are kept off the market. To provide blanket legal protection against punitive damages in such cases is both unwarranted and dangerous.

We learned just last month that Celebrex, the phenomenally popular painkiller from Pfizer, more than tripled the risk of heart attacks, strokes and death among those taking high doses in a national trial. Those findings, as noted in an article in The Times, "raised new questions about how well federal drug regulators protect the public and worsened drug makers' already dismal image."

Senator Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican who held hearings on recent F.D.A. actions, said, "At this point, no one can say with confidence whether the worst drug safety problems are behind us or ahead of us."