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The courts, drugs and the FDA

September 10, 2008

Re "Drug makers seek shield from suits," Sept. 7

The Times' article regarding shielding drug companies from suits, while attempting to be evenhanded, failed to mention an important point: The editorial staff of the New England Journal of Medicine, one of the most prestigious medical journals in the United States, made a strong argument against preemption in its May 1, 2008, issue and has since filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court.

The Journal editors, citing instances in which drug companies have withheld key information from the Food and Drug Administration, argue that the present-day FDA lacks the information and resources to be the public's sole protector. They further believe that a robust tort system is necessary to protect patients from dangerous drugs. Those who support smaller government and decry judicial activism are likely to be on the wrong side of this argument.

Lawrence J.

Rudd, MD, JD


The Supreme Court rules that medical device makers are immune from suit. The automakers ask taxpayers for a $50-billion bailout.

Socialism for the rich is too cumbersome a term to describe our form of government. I propose and hereby coin the word "corpocracy."

Jon Hartmann

Los Angeles

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