Last week 10 former and current editors and authors of the prestigious
New England Journal of Medicine showed exactly how they feel about the issue of
preemption by filing a brief in the Supreme Court. They claim that the major
players in the pharmaceutical industry have intentionally withheld important
information from the FDA concerning the safety of the medications that they
produce. The brief is highlighted by drugs like Bayer’s Trasylol, Merck’s
Vioxx, Wyeth’s Fen-Phen and Redux which were all remove from the market over safety
concerns and all of which have been tied to conspiracies of concealing evidence from the FDA.
“The drug companies have withheld key information from the
FDA and ardently negotiated against stricter label warnings — all the while
continuing to market their unsafe drugs to an unsuspecting public,” NEJM editors
write in an amicus brief filed in the Supreme Court.”
The brief was filed in the case of Wyeth v. Levine which
soon be coming in front of the Supreme Court. This case will have far reaching
implications and could possibly do away with pharmaceutical product liability all
together if the Court sides with Wyeth.
The basic argument present here is whether the FDA’s
approval of a medication should trump state laws governing product liability, therefore
preventing individuals from filing personal lawsuits against the manufacturers
of the medications for injuries incurred as a result of taking a specific drug.
This is a bitter argument that has passionate people who are
willing to fight tooth and nail on both sides of the issue; however, in the end
it with be a majority decision by the Supreme Court of this great nation which
will make the ultimate decision on preemption.