- War on painkillers finds new casualty in ailing veterans [Washington Post, Brian Doherty]
- “Woman says ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ lube doesn’t deliver, should be registered with FDA” [Legal NewsLine]
- “Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s Twisted Anti-Vaxx History” [Russell Saunders, Daily Beast back in July]
- Using antitrust law, New York seeks to force maker to go on producing older formulation of drug [Ilya Shapiro on Cato brief in Second Circuit] Courts have mostly rejected claims of a duty to supply grounded in obligation to patients [James Beck, Drug & Device Law]
- “Patients see [biotech] startups and hope for a cure. Too many lawyers see them and hope for a payday.” [Standish M. Fleming, WSJ]
- Argument that policymakers undervalue pharmaceutical aids to heroin rehabilitation [Jason Cherkis]
- After suing the obvious defendants in New England Compounding Pharmacy contamination case, lawyers started in on the less obvious [Drug and Device Law, background on regulation-spurred rise of compounding pharmacies]
Within the past 72 hours most of the energy on measles and vaccination has moved into hating the opposite Red or Blue team, so at least that’s normalized.
The problem would be a much easier one if only one side were implicated, though. As one who focuses on the legal system, I’ve written mostly about the role of litigation in hampering immunization [Overlawyered, Point of Law coverage over the years] with occasional attention to the role of America’s Most Irresponsible Public Figure®, attorney and Rolling Stone anti-vax author Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
But it isn’t just the legal system, nor is it just one side of familiar ideological conflicts. “Look closely at these poll numbers before you decide you know which ‘side’ is at fault in the vaccination debate,” notes author Terry Teachout. It’s politicians from both parties, along with various commentators and organizations from both the less-government and the more-government side of the spectrum. If you’re not ready to acknowledge harms done by people on your “own” side (left, right, libertarian, traditionalist or whatever) you’re probably not helping the vaccination debate.
At the Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf makes a case for friendly persuasion over TwitterShaming, channeling the spirit of a letter by children’s author Roald Dahl that has been much noted in recent days.
More: Richard Epstein via Roger Pilon (against common-law-will-work-things-out wishful thinking: “It is sheer fantasy to think that individuals made ill could bring private lawsuits for damages against the parties that infected them, or that persons exposed to imminent risk could obtain injunctive relief against the scores of persons who threaten to transmit disease. The transmission of disease involves hidden and complex interconnections between persons that could not be detected in litigation, even assuming that it could be brought in time, which it cannot.”)
It’s behind a paywall, but the WSJ columnist looks into a question touched on repeatedly in this space and connects it to the unpredictability with which juries may credit expert testimony, as an Oklahoma jury recently did in Toyota litigation:
Toyota had been vigorously fighting hundreds of complaints that its cars are prone to unintended acceleration. Now it’s moving toward a global settlement as a consequence of a single Oklahoma lawsuit that appears to establish that Toyota can’t prevail if it can’t prove a negative—that its software didn’t go haywire in some untraceable and unreplicable manner. …
The Bookout jury was apparently impressed by the testimony of software expert Michael Barr. He said a single “bit flip” (the smallest instance of data corruption) could cause uncontrolled acceleration when the driver had been using cruise control, stopped using cruise control, then resumed using cruise control to let the car accelerate back to its selected speed. …
The connection to Ms. Bookout’s crash, which didn’t involve cruise control and took place on an exit ramp? None, except Mr. Barr claimed that “software failure is consistent with the description of the [Bookout] accident” and “more likely than not” a factor.
Jenkins notes, as have others, that if some mysterious and unreplicable bug is causing Toyotas to accelerate suddenly while disabling the brakes, it seems to differentially appear in cars being driven by elderly drivers, which are greatly overrepresented in the crash statistics.
More: Kyle Graham on whether vaccine liability limits make a plausible precedent for limits on liability for driverless cars.
- Crisis of sterile injectables rages on, among victims are premature infants who need parenteral nutrition [Washingtonian (“Even if the FDA’s doing something terrible, we can’t criticize them. They regulate us.”) via Tabarrok, earlier here, here, here, etc.]
- “Tweets not medical advice” [@Caduceusblogger via @jackshafer]
- “Why Your Dog Can Get Vaccinated Against Lyme Disease And You Can’t” [Curt Nickisch, WBUR]
- Cites distinctive Connecticut law: “Hospital Successfully Sues its Patient’s Attorneys for Filing a Vexatious Malpractice Suit” [Alex Stein, Bill of Health]
- Should adversarial medical examinations be videotaped? [Turkewitz]
- “Lawyers Have Learned To Distort Pharmacovigilance Signals” [Oliver on FDA Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS), earlier]
- Causation from nasal decongestant at issue: “Judge orders UW to pay $15M to Snoqualmie family” [KING5]
- “The ban on compensated transplant organ donation has led to hundreds of thousands of excess deaths. A ban on compensated sperm and egg donation would lead to a dearth of lives.” [Alex Tabarrok, related on Canada]
Yes, America’s Most Irresponsible Public Figure® is at it again. [Orac, Respectful Insolence] For good measure, the celebrity environmentalist/wayward scion, speaking in Chicago at a conference called Autism One, is quoted as saying of Dr. Paul Offit and other vaccine scientists, “They should be in jail and the key should be thrown away.” [Age of Autism]
Update: As of Tues. June 3 in the afternoon, the AoA blog post has been taken down. [h/t Justin Miller]
- Georgia: “Twiggs County Landgrabber Loses, Must Pay $100K in Fees” [Lowering the Bar]
- “Major California Rule Change For Depositions Takes Place In 2013” [Cal Biz Lit] Discovery cost control explored at IAALS conference [Prawfs]
- Gift idea! “Lego version of the Eighth Circle of Hell (where false counselors and perjurers suffered)” [John Steele, Legal Ethics Forum; Flavorwire]
- “Don’t Worry About the Voting Rights Act: If the Supreme Court strikes down part of it, black and Hispanic voters will be just fine.” [Eric Posner and Nicholas Stephanopoulos, Slate, via @andrewmgrossman]
- “Why did Congress hold hearings this week promoting crackpot [anti-vaccination] views? [Phil Plait, Slate]
- “Debunking a Progressive Constitutional Myth; or, How Corporations Became People, Too” [John Fabian Witt, Balkinization]
- “Federal ‘protection’ of American poker players turning into confiscation” [Point of Law]
The researcher of anti-vaccine fame, who was struck off the British medical rolls following scandal over his methods, had earlier sued journalist Brian Deer in the U.K.; this time he has filed an action in Texas [Respectful Insolence, Popehat]. As parents decline vaccination, whooping cough and measles make a deadly comeback [Amy Alkon, Orac]