Thursday, March 5, 2009
Occam's Legal Razor
(Parsimony of payment) It all boils down to who has the most money. Recently there was a lawsuit against a drug company. The company made phenergan an antinausea drug that is routinely used around the world and is now generic an produces by many companies. A physicians assistant gave a patient an injection of the medication in an artery instead of a vein by mistake. The medication already has a warning that states it should be given slowly to prevent possible complications including gangreen and that it should not be given in an artery. Neverthelesss, the patient had severe vasospasm from the arterial injection and lost thier limb. So who was sued? You guessed it, the company that makes the medication, not the nimrod who gave it in the artery. A jury felt bad for the patient and awarded them 11 million dollars beacuse they felt the warning on the label should have been more explicit. This is even though the warning on the label said to not give it interarterially. Anyway, the drug company appealed claiming that it had complied with FDA regulated warnings. The Supreme Court now has sided with the plaintiffs. So, even though there is a warning and the original problem was caused by one persons error, our courts show that Occums Legal Razor ( go for who has the most money first) is the best option. So how do you have warning labels to protect you even when they already say dont do this? There is no way. Even when we look at idiots using phenergan in arteries, the rate of this complication is less that getting struck by lightning. Oh, wait a minute, they should probably have that on the label as well. "You may get stuck by lightning". Anyway, now every drug company will be sued about their labels because we have a precident. Phenergan which is now generic will not be profitable enough to make with the added liability and it will vanish like tigan and droperidol. So that leaves only Zofran and its expensive clones to use for our kids getting chemo. Unfortunately, these meds are very expensive and didn't seem to work for the kids like phenergan could. (phenergan is being pulled from the formulary) I guess this was a good case for attorneys but a bad one if you are a kid getting chemo.