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 Volume V August 8, 2003 

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You don't have to be an economist to know that when people can't afford coverage, they can't afford care. When they can't get care, they just get sicker. Already more than 40 million Americans have no health coverage, and that will only get worse if healthcare litigation is not brought under control.
    –Maryann Maloney, Executive Director, Orange County Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse

Lawsuit Abuse News

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Expert Witnesses Under Examination

"From medical malpractice to product liability, expert witness testimony has long been the linchpin to winning jury verdicts against the likes of bad doctors, tobacco companies and faulty cars. At the same time, an expert witness industry has been created that critics say is riddled with 'fringe science' and with experts willing to fudge facts for fees that can top $100,000 per year." Chicago Tribune, July 20, 2003

Opinion Editorial by Ron Ohmann, MD: Medical Liability Is Out of Control

"Many facets of our healthcare system are affected by excessive litigation awards.

Health maintenance organizations must increase premiums to cover umbrella policies and pay high rates for their doctors. Hospitals, nursing homes and pharmaceutical firms are also vulnerable to frivolous suits and high awards... Even Medicare and Medicaid programs are indirectly affected." St. Cloud Times, July 22, 2003

Column by Russ Many: Rather Than Fretting Over Clogged Arteries, U.S. Should Unclog Courts

"[A] universal warning label would... stem the tide of frivolous lawsuits clogging up the legal system. According to a 1999 Federalist Society survey, the number of state court class actions pending against surveyed companies increased 1,042 percent from 1988 to 1998. Moreover, many of these lawsuits are clearly just lottery tickets for lawyers... Sadly, the 'victims' are the last to get paid, if at all." Snitch, July 23, 2003

What people are saying...

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"Our broken medical litigation system is affecting patients' ability to find a doctor... It is critical that we fix this broken litigation system now. In the current system, the fear of excessive awards stimulates wasteful defensive medicine and deters doctors and hospitals from identifying and addressing medical errors, thus increasing costs and decreasing quality."

Tommy G. Thompson, Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, "More physicians linked to limits on non-economic damages," Health and Medicine Week, July 28, 2003

"Not only is the current liability system creating critical problems in access to physicians, it is increasingly threatening the development of badly needed cures for physicians to use. The legal system is altering the practice of medicine and the development of medicines themselves, in ways that harm patients."

FDA Commissioner Mark McClellan, in remarks to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, July 15, 2003


U.S. Senate Panel Backs Patient Safety Bill

Before adjourning for the summer, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee approved a bill aimed at reducing medical errors by encouraging doctors and other healthcare providers to share data without fear of being sued. Reuters News, July 23, 2003

Our Broken Healthcare Liability System – The Stats

  • 43%: percentage of doctors who report that they have avoided prescribing a particular medication because they were aware that the drug might be involved in litigation

  • two in five: number of pharmacists who report that their patients have stopped taking or have

refused to take medication properly prescribed for them because they discovered the drug might be involved in a lawsuit

  • 25%: percentage of patients who reported that they would immediately stop taking their medication if they saw an advertisement for a lawsuit over that drug

    Figures taken from the Pharmaceutical Liability Study by Harris Interactive, July 15, 2003

For press inquiries, please contact Rossanna Salazar at: 1-800-476-1442

Lawsuit Abuse Makes Us Sick
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