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New York court relaxes Frye test for junk science testimony

Zocor has been on the market for fifteen years, but an intermediate court in the case of Zito v. Zabarsky allowed expert evidence that the doctor should be liable because of the novel possibility that the statin could cause polymyositis, notwithstanding the lack of evidence of this in the medical literature, and the fact that use of a statin at the recommended dose is the standard medical practice for treating high cholesterol.

Even if the theory (based on a single speculative case report in The Lancet—the expert admitted no other scientific literature supported him) was scientifically valid, in the words of one commenter at Medrants, "To be held liable for a 1 in a million event while trying to prevent a 1/100 event is about as reasonable as a suing your dentist for dental cleaning, although 1/million develop sometimes fatal endocarditis."

For more detail, read the excellent AMA/WLF briefing (h/t S.B.) moving to reconsider the decision.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.