Thursday, November 17, 2005

Vaccine Funding Tied to Liability

WaPo reported Legislation that would pour billions of dollars into the production of vaccines against avian flu and other pandemic diseases is threatened by the trial lawyers' lobby, which objects to proposed limits onlawsuits against drug manufacturers.

This is stupid. There is not that much money to be made on vaccines, particularly vaccines that must be developed quickly to protect from a pandemic. If we want the drug companies to devert efforts in making popular drugs like viagra, to develop low profit margin vaccines we need to give them some protection against lawsuits.
Republican congressional leaders, acting at the urging of President Bush, hope to approve a measure soon that would appropriate about $7 billion to pay for vaccines that would combat a flu epidemic and biological attacks by terrorists. The bill could begin moving on Capitol Hill this week. But the Association of Trial Lawyers of America and some of its Democratic allies in Congress are working to scuttle or drastically transform the effort, asserting that anti-lawsuit language in the bill would so broadly indemnify pharmaceutical companies against suits that consumers' rights would be denied.
Vaccines would not be forced on anyone. If someone thinks a vaccine might make them sick, they should not take it, rather than taking it and then bringing a lawsuit against the manufacturer
Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), the Senate's chief advocate for strict liability protections, asserted that the companies need to be thoroughly indemnified against suits to provide enough of an incentive for them to make vaccines, which tend to be low-profit products.

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