In October, a decision is being made by the Supreme Court that could jeopardize a patient’s right to sue a drug company if a drug that was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) harmed them. This important case, pending before the Supreme Court, comes after a woman, who lost her arm to gangrene, was inappropriately injected with a drug manufactured by Wyeth pharmaceuticals. After winning her case against Wyeth, the Bush administration partnered with the drug manufacturer to take the case to the Supreme Court. The Bush administration already helped to win an earlier case that went before the Supreme Court in which consumer’s right to sue the manufacturers of FDA approved medical devices was taken away.
This present case regarding drug manufacturers will argue that no citizen should be allowed to sue the drug manufacturer if harmed by an FDA inspected and approved drug, even though the FDA is paid by pharmaceutical companies to approve a drug as quickly as possible. Such lawsuits, the Bush administration claim, undermine the FDA’s authority and the agency’s support should provide the necessary approval on the drug’s overall safety. However, drug manufacturers do not give the FDA all of the information they gather in the experiments of their own so the manufacturer’s legal immunity is only hurting American consumers.
The claim from the Bush administration comes even after many people are harmed each year by a drug’s unanticipated side effects or false claims years after the drug was approved by the agency. The FDA’s own advisory board admits the agency is severely understaffed and underfunded, leading United States consumers, in terms of food and drug safety, to be at a great risk of danger. Private lawsuits against manufacturers bring public attention to potentially harmful and defective drugs that somehow escaped the FDA’s approval process. These lawsuits not only help manufacturers be held accountable to the integrity of their products and help to ensure potentially dangerous problems are fixed, they also allow injured parties to obtain justice and compensation. Lawsuits can be seen as another check to manufacturer’s power and another watchful eye fighting for the American consumer