Decibel (decibel45) wrote,
Decibel
decibel45

"Liability without Fault" == no flu vaccines

This is an excerpt from an article in the weekly Standard magazine October 25th edition titled
"La Grippe of the Trial Lawyers" regarding the absents of adequate supply of flu vaccine:

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/004/793dgqvs.asp?pg=1


All this is the result of a legal concept called "liability without fault" that emerged from the hothouse atmosphere of the law schools in the 1960s and became the law of the land. Under the old "negligence" regime, you had to prove a product manufacturer had done something wrong in order to hold it liable for damages. Under liability without fault, on the other hand, the manufacturer can be held responsible for harm from its products, whether blameworthy or not. Add to that the jackpot awards that come from pain-and-suffering and punitive damages, and you have a legal climate that no manufacturer wants to risk.
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Adding to the problem are the predictable panics about vaccines that spread among parents and are abetted by trial lawyers. In 1974, a British researcher published a paper claiming that the vaccine for pertussis (whooping cough) had caused seizures in 36 children, leading to 22 cases of epilepsy or mental retardation. Subsequent studies proved the claim to be false, but in the meantime Japan canceled inoculations, resulting in 113 preventable whooping cough deaths. In the United States, 800 pertussis vaccine lawsuits asking $21 million in damages were filed over the next decade. The cost of a vaccination went from 21 cents to $11.
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Note that while American companies are easy targets (prey) for this sort of stuff, products from off-shore are largely immune from the sharks. This is due to not being able to reach the "deep pockets" of off-shore companies. Only local sales offices or local distribution operations are easy targets; but, these usually aren't worth the effort since there's little, if any, assets to "go after". Although imported products may not be as safe for the consumer, their manufactures are far safer from attack by the sharks than U.S. companies.

While the right to sue is important, some feel that the system is out of balance at the present time.
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