In a recent article in the
referring to the alleged link between litigation and an inadequate flu
vaccine supply, “Bill Frist, the Senate
majority leader from Tennessee, last week told a television audience
that one cause for shortages was the ‘high cost of litigation - the
frivolous lawsuits that come from these little, tiny vaccines’.”
Now, Senator Frist and others may well argue that
because some lawsuits are frivolous that these vaccine lawsuits are all
frivolous and deserve to be stopped. But arguing that won’t make
it true or fair.
And they may in the end, in spite of the inequity
of the argument,
get their way by
making it even more difficult than it already is for those harmed by
vaccines and other products to get rightly compensated.
But really, now.
Did the good Senator honestly mean to suggest that size matters?
Exploding atoms, spores of botulism, tiny, deadly vials of poison like
cyanide – why is he pretending to be unaware that tiny packages can
deal a powerful punch?
Might it be due to the
fact that the Senator has considerable ties to the drug industry,
including being the
drug company contribution recipient in Congress? Might he be
banking on the automatic trust bestowed upon doctors to
once again try
and pull the wool over our eyes? Might this trust be completely
undeserved and misplaced given the
charges and enormous
penalties lodged against the Frist family medical business, his own
sizable fortune because of this business, as well as the other possible
conflicts of interest?
Now we all know what love can do to people.
But this love affair Senator Frist is having with the drug and vaccine
manufacturers has really caused him to lose his head this time.
For one, he seems to have confused having a hobby
with having a lobby.
But is it really such a good idea to bet the farm
(i.e., re-election) on this relationship? Is it really all that
smart to use the “but, your honor, it was just a tiny bit of poison”
argument in their defense?
"Eternal vigilance is
the price of liberty." - Wendell Phillips (1811-1884), paraphrasing
John Philpot Curran (1808)