LA Times Article on Medtronic Case Gets it Right
This LA Times article, High court may bar claims for FDA-approved drugs, does a pretty solid job at articulating the civil justice angle for these preemption cases.
According to the article, the Supreme Court's decision in the Medtronic case (covered here and here on TortDeform, and here on PAL blog) could affect tens of thousands of Americans' claims against manufacturers of other medical devices and drugs that were harmful to the public. And with mounting evidence that the FDA is sorely under-equipped to protect the public from these dangers:
...A ruling for Medtronic would "take away the last possible safety net against unfettered corporate misbehavior and negligence," said Karen Barth Menzies, a Newport Beach lawyer who has represented plaintiffs in cases against drug makers.
Menzies sees these "preemption" cases as a new battlefront in the tort-reform wars in the wake of limits imposed by Congress and state legislatures in recent years on class actions and medical malpractice claims.
If we can't trust the FDA to regulate, and can't trust the manufacturers to properly test and label, then how can we trust that the medicine we're taking or medical devices we're using are doing more good than harm? Without the accountability provided through the civil justice system, companies can gamble with lives and score big on profits, regardless of the health consequences for the patients who make those profits possible. And industry insiders-turned-agency officials facilitate this process for their cronies by remaining lax on regulation. Certainly a case to keep following.