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The Next Wave

Alex Berenson, writing in Sunday's New York Times, comments on the rising tide of drug lawsuits-- aimed at AstraZeneca's antipsychotic Seroquel, Johnson & Johnson's birth control patch Ortho-Evra, Wyeth's Prempro, a hormone treatment for women, and Merck's osteoporosis drug Fosamax. As Berenson observes, these drugs have annual sales of nearly $7 billion. It's not hard to imagine why the plaintiffs' bar is so eager to tap into this rich vein. And they have an addition to their arsenal, now: 'In each case, plaintiffs' lawyers are trying, at least rhetorically, to link their suits to the Vioxx litigation..."

Berenson also notes that while drug lawsuits don't necessarily spell financial doom for a drugmaker, they are damaging nonetheless, econmically and otherwise. He cites the PR catastrophe that Merck experienced when one of its intenral emails-- in which then-chief scientist Edward M. Skolnick derogated the FDA-- was leaked to the press. This is to say nothing of the damage done to a company's stock prices over the course of such a suit.

Looks like it's going to be a long summer.



Isaac Gorodetski
Project Manager,
Center for Legal Policy at the
Manhattan Institute

Katherine Lazarski
Press Officer,
Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.