Originally published February 25 2008
U.S. Supreme Court Poised to Strip Consumers of Right to Sue over Deadly Pharmaceuticals
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor
(NaturalNews) In arguments and discussion for Warner-Lambert Co. v. Kent heard today, Justices are proposing that consumers should not be able to sue pharmaceutical companies for damages from side effects because some people might be helped by those same drugs. Forget all the technical legalities -- this argument is absurd from the outset. Here's why:
If Ford makes a defective car with a poorly-designed gasoline tank that explodes and kills someone, that person's family has a right to sue Ford, correct? But the U.S. Supreme Court is now effectively arguing that Ford should be granted immunity to all lawsuits because its cars provide benefits to other drivers.
In other words, the fact that Ford cars don't kill some consumers somehow makes up for the ones killed by those defective cars. (In this case, Ford is just an example. There is no pending legislation against Ford that involves the U.S. Supreme Court.)
That argument is absurd. If put in place, it would mean that individuals no longer have the right to sue companies for defective products, and the very definition of "harm" is no longer measured on an individual basis but rather by some sort of yet-unstated collective scorekeeping that says no company can be sued if its products provide benefits to somebody.
Of course, this is all being selectively applied only to the pharmaceutical industry at the moment, but if this line of thinking is allowed to continue, it could very quickly lead to blanket immunity for virtually all corporations against any consumer lawsuits. After all, the argument being made to protect Big Pharma is that even though drugs kill lots of people, the fact that they help some people who aren't killed outweighs the liability from the dead people. Should this also apply to automobiles? Fireworks? Roller coasters? At what point does the U.S. Supreme Court think corporations should actually be held liable for the harm caused by their products?
The abandonment of corporate responsibility and the surrender of consumer rightsApparently, some Justices believe corporations should never be held liable for harmful products, even if they committed fraud in getting their products approved by regulatory agencies such as the FDA. It's true: At least one Supreme Court Justice is now arguing that even in cases of drug companies defrauding the FDA and lying about the safety of their drugs, the public should still have no right whatsoever to sue over the damage (or death) caused by those drugs.
And how about collapsing bridges and buildings? According to the U.S. Supreme Court's current thinking, people who are killed in a collapse of a defective bridge or building should have absolutely no legal recourse. Why? Because that same bridge or building provided benefits to other people who were not killed!
Thus, the Supreme Court is actually following a line of flawed reasoning that would deny consumers the right to sue corporations for practically anything! This is why I have come to the commonsense conclusion that the U.S. Supreme Court has surrendered the rights of the American people to greedy corporations that will soon, it seems, have no incentive at all to make safe products.
By the way, notice too that Big Tobacco was ultimately granted blanket product immunity under a complex settlement that essentially involved paying off U.S. States with a portion of the revenues generated by tobacco products that openly kill people. Thus, Big Tobacco was allowed to stay in business, producing products that directly kill millions of people each year around the world. This bring up an important law of every capitalist society: No sufficiently profitable industry will ever be brought to justice, even if its products destroy the health and lives of consumers. There's simply too much profit at stake, and money has an insidious way of influencing regulatory and judicial decisions while negating whatever imaginary rights the citizens once believed they were entitled to.
Why consumer lives are worth nothing to corporationsUnder the protection of blanket immunity, corporations consider the lives of consumers to be worth exactly zero dollars, and thus the normal equations of safety costs vs. liability risk are thrown out the window, replaced with a new equation of maximizing profits by minimizing expensive safety precautions. The only reason corporations currently place any value at all on the lives of consumers is because there are financial costs associated with harming or killing people (thanks to product liability lawsuits). Take away those financial costs, and the corporations will then consider consumer lives to be worthless in any way other than the fact that consumers might be worth something if they live long enough to keep buying more products.
What's obvious in all this is that the U.S. legal system has devolved into such a morass of fictitious legal technicalities that it no longer has any concept of commonsense reality. There should be no argument necessary at all in this case: Of course consumers have the right to sue companies over pharmaceuticals (or cars or bridges) that directly harm them! And the fact that the FDA or some other corrupt (or incompetent) government agency slaps its approval onto a product should in no way grant the manufacturer complete immunity from the very real effects caused by its products. Pharmaceuticals kill people. It's a simple fact. And Big Pharma should be held responsible for the harm caused by its products. But the Supreme Court is now looking for ways to weave complex legal technicalities into a convenient but entirely dishonest shield that allows drug companies to literally get away with murder.
An era of unbridled madnessIf you were looking for evidence of why the United States of America has gone mad, look no further than the regulatory and legal fabrications surrounding pharmaceuticals. Not only do we now have a system of organized medicine that operates as organized crime by protecting monopoly prices, engaging in routine scientific fraud, and drugging children with powerful psychotropic chemicals without even a single shred of real evidence that those children are "diseased," but now we have a legal system that seems poised to hand Big Pharma unlimited permission to manufacture and market extremely dangerous chemicals with impunity.
The consumer has now been relegated to the role of "useless eater," with zero rights and zero value. The corporations are in charge, and the corrupt judicial system is now protecting the profits of these corporations by selling out the people. A new era of corporate-sponsored chemical destruction is spreading like a dark shadow over the future of the American people, and the highest court in the land has declared its loyalty to the corporate Kings who rule over American consumers as tyrants over peasants.
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