Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Republicans have found a way to completely protect corporations who don't give a fig about harming individuals: gut the regulatory agencies, then make suing corporations all but impossible and voila, corporations can tread on us in any way they please. Robert Reich's article, "Toothless Tigers and 'Tort Reform'", in American Prospect, examines the strategy. After describing the recent malfeasance of the FDA in not warning consumers about the dangers of Vioxx and Celebrex, Reich explains the consequence of a $250,000 cap on tort reform.
Meanwhile, new legislation is winding its way through Congress that would prevent people who are hurt by drugs approved by the FDA from winning large damage awards against companies that made them. FDA approval would shield drug makers from having to pay anything more than $250,000 even when it's proven that they negligently caused someone more than $250,000 of harm. Congressional sponsors understand this cap on damages will end lawsuits against drug companies because personal-injury lawyers won't want to take on the risks and costs of such cases. If this bill passes, companies like Pfizer and Merck, now facing a flood of lawsuits because of Celebrex and Vioxx, won't have to worry.
Of course, the problems with the FDA are just for starters. Budgets have been cut and foxes put in charge of the Securities and Exchange Henhouse, the Environmental Protection Henhouse, the Federal Trade Henhouse, and so on.
Click here to read Reich's article.

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