Medical roundup

  • “The dominant narrative about pain treatment being a major pathway to addiction is wrong, [and] an agenda heavily weighted toward pill control is not enough.” [Sally Satel on origins of opioid crisis]
  • The press gets it wrong: “A Young Mother Died Because Her Flu Meds Were Too Expensive – Or Did She?” [Josh Bloom, ACSH]
  • New research brief: tort reform could have effects in both directions on innovation [Alberto Galasso and Hong Luo, Cato]
  • Appalling: editor of The Lancet extols Marx as a guide to understanding medical science [Theodore Dalrymple, Law and Liberty]
  • “We harbor a suspicion that half the drug/device tort cases we encounter are really medical malpractice cases in search of a deeper pocket” [Stephen McConnell, Drug & Device Law Blog]
  • Should the Food and Drug Administration concern itself with the effect of its decisions on drug prices? [David Hyman and William Kovacic, Regulation mag]


  • Comrade Stalin had some even more pertinent points to make about the medical profession:

  • I swear I heard Gov. Malloy say on radio today that “The only reason to prescribe an opioid is if you want your patient to become addicted.”

    But I can find no record of his saying it, not even on, at the Malloy web page.

    Our Governor is really enjoying his lame-duck status. I’m not.

  • Malpractice cases v. drug/device cases

    Two interesting SCotUS decisions on this subject.

    Wyeth v. Levine, decided 2009
    Musician Diana Levine lost her arm to blatant malpractice at a poorly insured Vermont clinic, and was allowed to keep a $6.7 award against drug manufacturer Wyeth. Wyeth had used an FDA-approved label, but SCotUS
    allowed Vermont courts and juries to speculate that a different State label might somehow have caught the health technician’s attention.

    Pliva v. Mensing, decided 2011
    Some patients suffered bad effects from longterm use of generic metoproclamide. SCotUS did not allow them to sue the generic manufacturer for defective labeling, because Congress, in allowing and encouraging the manufacture of generic drugs, specifically *required* generic manufacturers to use the same label as the original manufacturer.

    The NY Times and other friends of the plaintiffs’ bar decried Pliva v Mensing as terrible, leaving patients with bad outcomes without legal resource. I suggested that government could more cheaply and fairly backstop clinics with poor insurance, either with automatic government insurance, or a Workmen’s Comp-style system of direct payments.