I don’t drink the Kool-Aid. I distrust simple answers, group-think, zealotry. I can’t stand when people make sweeping generalizations about the absolute evil of one side and the unconditional good of the other side. I don’t usually spend much time with plaintiffs’ attorneys who think every corporate decision is an act of violence and malfeasance. I am convinced there are two sides to every story (even if, often, one side of the story is weaker).
Medical Devices and Drugs Have Saved Many Lives
So it is with my law practice. I do not believe major companies are evil, that they are out to hurt people, that all the conspiracy theories are true. I am convinced the life-cycle of a medical device or drug begins with a beautiful idea: to develop a product that will save lives, that will make people more active, that will help people and not hurt them. In fact, virtually all medical devices or drugs are first developed by one or a few smart people attempting a solution to a pressing health problem.
And these medical devices and drugs have saved lives. And as a society we have to create an environment where doctors and scientists and corporations have the freedom and the opportunity to build new medical devices and new drugs to solve vexing health problems.
But Corporate Greed is Real, and Dangerous
But something sinister occasionally happens on the road from inspired surgeon with a new idea to the release of 100,000 medical devices into the marketplace. Greed happens. Corporations rush products onto the market without proper testing (you can read about the flawed 510k medical device approval process here). Sales departments see huge profits on the horizon if only the product can get to the market right now. Marketing departments spend massive amounts on television commercials, Internet advertising, print ads, and access to doctors. Corporate leaders occasionally ignore clinical trials which show alarming evidence of harmful side effects and instead push the product to market with the knowledge that the product may hurt innocent people.
This is what I fight against. I fight for the people injured by the negligent or intentionally harmful acts of big corporations. I hate reading yet another white paper about a product that was released to the public even though the company had compelling evidence that the product had design flaws that could injure or kill patients. I hate this. And I will keep fighting corporations who do this to people.
So when corporations across the board do the right thing, when they properly test their devices and drugs, when they make decisions on new products based primarily on public health and not on immediate corporate profits, then there will be no work left for me to do. I will be out of business. I can then go back to teaching or maybe start a new career renting windsurfers at the beach. It would be an easy trade-off.
When corporations consistently put public safety and the public good over naked profiteering, I will stop representing individuals injured by flawed medical devices and drugs. I will stop practicing product liability law. I truly hope they put me out of business for good.
Sadly though, I believe I have chosen a career path with job security. Each year, products flood the market that are inadequately tested and seriously flawed, and as the months pass hundreds of people come forward with horrific stories of permanent injuries, debilitating pain, lost jobs, and diminished lives. I hate these stories. When these people are no longer unfairly injured by failed products I will gladly “find myself a rock and roll band / That needs a helping hand.” Until then, I fight.
Call me if you need to talk about a possible product liability case: 919.546.8788.