"In the last twenty years, personal injury lawyers have found litigation against healthcare providers and pharmaceutical manufacturers to be a lucrative 'growth area' in their practices. Litigation that has enriched personal injury lawyers, however, is adversely impacting both the quality and the cost of care for the rest of us." - The Factors Fueling Rising Healthcare Costs, PriceWaterhouseCooper, April 2002
Frivolous lawsuits threaten our healthcare.
Doctors are afraid to practice medicine.
- Because of litigation fears, 79% of doctors said they had ordered more tests than they would based only on professional judgment of what is medically needed. (Fear of Litigation Study: Impact on Medicine, Harris Interactive, April 11, 2002)
- In a growing trend across the country, hospitals are now forbidding parents from videotaping the births of their babies for fear of lawsuits. One Chicago-area hospital has banned the practice because of the "volatile legal climate," according to a hospital spokesperson. (Crain's Detroit Business, October 13, 2004)
- More than 40 percent of doctors reported avoiding prescribing appropriate medication because they knew the drug might be involved in litigation. (Pharmaceutical Liability Survey, Harris Interactive, July 15, 2003)
- Almost 70 percent of OB-GYNs said that liability fears forced them to stop providing childbirth services. ("Editorial: The Costs of Frivolous Lawsuits," Internal Medicine News, January 2004)
- More than 70 percent of doctors view their patients as potential adversaries due to the hotly litigious climate. (The Doctor's Advocate, The Doctors Company, 2004)
Frivolous lawsuits threaten medical innovation and jeopardize patient health.
- More than 70 percent of patients believe it is likely that product liability litigation or fear of it has caused pharmaceutical companies to avoid research and development in certain product areas. (Pharmaceutical Liability Survey, Harris Interactive, July 15, 2003)
- Lawsuit fears have found their way into the delivery room, as 42 percent of women believe the current medical litigation environment leads providers to perform Cesarean sections that are not really needed. From 2003 to 2004, there was a 27.5 percent increase in Cesarean sections in the U.S. ("Listening to Mothers® Survey," Childcare Connection, March 20, 2006; Associated Press, November 17, 2005)
- Decades of litigation has decreased production and availability of respirator masks, the types of which would be crucial if pandemic flu hit. In fact, U.S. respirator manufacturers spent 90% of the net income from respirator sales on litigation costs in 2004 alone. (Coalition for Breathing Safety, September 19, 2006)
- While each year over 7.5 million lives in America are either saved by or improved through implantable medical devices, pacemakers and stents, fear of frivolous litigation and outrageous jury verdicts has caused manufacturers to limit distribution or stop production altogether. 75% of suppliers of biomaterials used to make medical implants banned sales to U.S. manufacturers as a result of these fears. ("Biomaterials Availability: a Vital Health Care Industry Hangs in the Balance," Aronoff Associates for HIMA; "How FDA Regulation and Injury Litigation Cripple the Medical Device Industry," Policy Analysis 412, August 28, 2001)