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Recently, actor Dennis Quaid and his wife filed a lawsuit against drug manufacturer, Baxter Medical Corp., after a hospital unintentionally injected their newborn twins with the wrong dosage of a blood-thinning medication. The drug maker is contesting the lawsuit on the grounds that it is immune from liability. The Bush administration has been rewriting rules that make any person filing a product liability lawsuit at a greater increase of having their lawsuit lost or dismissed altogether. This, of course, is nothing but a back-door form of tort reform, by the Executive Branch of our federal government. Because the President cannot go through the front door, he is going through the back one, in an effort to protect big business.

The Associated Press has recently published articles stating federal agencies are quietly rewriting the language used in regulating consumer problems. Before these rewrites, a company could be sued if its products were flawed. Now, however, language allows for federal preemption questions to arise for many reasons. The Quaid case is a good example since the couple sued Baxter Medical Corp. because vials containing the prescribed dosage of the babies’ medication were very similar in size and labeling to a higher dosage of the drug. Baxter, however, is trying to have the case dismissed citing the “doctrine of preemption” because the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved the vials’ design. The Quaids argue the vials should have been redesigned in 2006 after the same kind of mix-up at another hospital left three premature babies dead.

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