August 09, 2006

Lawyers Don't Kill People, Lawsuits Do

Below Curt Levey posted on last week's John Stossel article concerning the negative effects trial lawyers have on the health care industry. This week Stossel has another excellent article on RealClearPolitics.com that provides concrete examples of how not only frivolous lawsuits, but also the mere threat of frivolous lawsuits has kept important products, medicines and vaccines that would allow millions to live healthier, safer lives off the market.

Here are some examples:
  • "Monsanto once developed a substitute for asbestos -- a new fire-resistant form of insulation that might save thousands of lives. But Monsanto decided not to sell it for fear of liability. Richard F. Mahoney, the CEO at the time, said, 'There may well have been a safe, effective asbestos replacement on the market, and now there isn't.'"
  • "Even when new vaccines are discovered, drug companies are sometimes afraid to sell them. The FDA has approved a vaccine against Lyme disease. Want some? Forget about it. No company wants to take the risk."
  • "Union Carbide has invented a small portable kidney dialysis machine. It would make life much easier for people with kidney disease, but Union Carbide won't sell it. With legal sharks circling, the risk of expensive lawsuits outweighs the possible profit."

And the trial lawyers wonder why they're so unpopular.

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