Avian Flu: Cherchez the Lawyers

By October 10, 2005Briefly Legal

No doubt everyone’s been following the story about the distinct possibility of an avian flu outbreak somewhere in the world this year, with the US certainly at risk of this potentially deadly disease. On Friday, the President held a meeting in the White House with a number of manufacturers of the flu vaccine to discuss their plans. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: we have the best, most innovative manufacturers in the world here in the US, and that goes in spades for the innovators at America’s drug companies inventing the latest treatments and vaccines.

So what’s the holdup? The lawyers. Yup, just like last year, manufacturers either aren’t manufacturing here or are not supplying the US market out of fear of lawsuits. Noted White House spokesman Scott McClellan in this AP story: “If a vaccine causes side effects in healthy people, vaccine manufacturers could face massive lawsuits.”

How sad is this? What kind of commentary is this on the US legal system? We’ve long made the point that lawsuit abuse retards innovation, research and development, the lifeblood of manufacturing. Here’s an opportunity to see it up close and personal. How pathetic that a potentially life-threatening disease won’t be thwarted because of the very real threat of lawsuits?

So if you see you friendly (?) neighborhood trial lawyer, don’t forget to thank them for yet again putting America, Americans — and the world – in danger through their abject greed and the trigger-happy litigation culture they’ve created.