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Mass Tort Litigation and Product Liability

Submitted by on November 5, 2012 – 3:13 PM

Mass-TortWhen drugs devastate lives, the case goes beyond the category of a mere injury from a defective product. Over the past quarter of a century, human race has become more aware of their civil rights, legal responsibilities and freedom of speech with the help of increased literacy and Indoctrination. With this level of far-fetched opportunity, the attitude of bearing and suffering for the mistakes of others has been substantially relaxed.

For many of us, who are a die-hard fan of John Grisham and Scott Turow, neither mass tort nor litigation is an unfamiliar term. According to legal dictionary, mass tort is defined as a collective tort or injury to a group of people, quite often copiously suing a common powerful corporate. The legal terminology pool defines product liability as ”The responsibility of manufacturers, distributors and sellers of products to the public, to deliver products free of defects which harm an individual or numerous persons and to make good on that responsibility if their products are defective”. These can include faulty pharmaceutical products or lack of label warnings. For instance, a toxic and lethal chemical is being expelled by a factory into the nearby lake. The consumers of water from that lake, if injured by any means, may qualify for mass tort. These cases are brought together in a single court and evidence is shared between the cases.

We are well aware of many renowned pharmaceutical companies on the face of Earth. Before the introduction of a drug the pharmaceutical corporate collects, investigates and practically evaluates information relating to side effects of medicines during the clinical trials. It is their responsibility to vigorously monitor health outcomes and report to the Food and Drug Administration any evidence of possible adverse events that some patients experience once the medicine is made available to the general patient population.

Once the drug is out and clear, it is introduced, marketed, prescribed and consumed by people all over the world. The leaflet provided with it gives complete patient information including the indication, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, drug-drug interactions, drug-food interaction, contraindications, precautions, adverse effects, storage instructions, etc. Eventually, the drug is a big success, for pharmaceutical boys, physicians and ultimately the patients. It is a plausible cycle of events more or less same for every drug.

Tragically sometimes, when these renowned pharmaceutical companies accidently or rather inattentively miss the boat in providing complete and precise information about the drug they bring to market that sometimes do not comply with standards and regulations formulated by FDA, the latter takes it to account. Consequently the problem arises when a handful of consumers experience adverse effects, quite often the fatal ones. They may also result in chronic health problems. This triggers a catalyst in the cycle, the litigators, into a frantic activity and class actions are business. Pharmaceutical companies equally have unmatched resources and experienced and aggressive legal teams appointed just for this cause. A series of events, such a documentation of factual causation, consents, self-defense, trials, defamation, negotiations, settlements and events in between, account for product liability.

As a result there can be two scenarios, of course win or lose. Either the renowned pharmaceutical companies are the victors and a considerable loss is accepted by the class action litigators or the drug manufacturer is found guilty and compelled to compensate each individual claimant.

What we legally, socially and ethically desire is that such disasters should be avoided in the first place. Human life is a precious gift from the unseen. The pain and suffering one undergoes cannot be rectified by any amount of compensation. It is a tough responsibility of government, public authorities, FDA, physicians, researchers and pharmacists to help the drug manufacturers to get rid of this evil.


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