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Preemption – Drug Companies Believe We Need More Drugs

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I just read an amicus briefed filed by the former and current editors of the New England Journal of Medicine in a case before our Supreme Court wherein Wyeth is seeking to have all pharmaceuticals suits “Preempted” by Federal Laws. In a nutshell, Preemption generally refers to the displacing effect that federal law will have on a conflicting or inconsistent state law. Pharmaceuticals proffer that the fact the FDA approved a drug means that negligence and other claims (ie Failure to Warn) cannot be made in states claims.

One of Wyeth’s arguments is that Tort suits have led Americans to underutilize prescription drugs. This is the doctors resposne on that issue. Thought I might share it. It shows our dependence on prescriptions.

What I found most interesting is the following: “The prescription drug industry earns global revenues of more than $700 billion per year, an increase of $178 billion over the last five years. Petitioner/Amici’s argument that tort suits have led Americans to underutilize prescription drugs or companies to limit product development is baseless. As of 2004, Americans were responsible for $248 billion in pharmaceutical sales, accounting for nearly 45 percent of all revenue worldwide.64 Despite representations of a so-called explosion of stifling litigation, the pharmaceutical market has grown, not shrunk. And it has done so dramatically: In 2007 alone, there were approximately 445 million more prescriptions written than in 2003.”