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Donald A. Caminiti
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Medical Doctors Concede that Lawsuits Serve as a "Vital Deterrent" for Consumers

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Top doctors who run one of the most influential U.S. medical journals are giving the U.S. Supreme Court some unsolicited legal advice about a major case.

Lawsuits can serve as “a vital deterrent” and protect consumers if drug companies do not disclose risks to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration before it approves medicines for use, the editors of the New England Journal of Medicine said in a friend-of-the-court brief. The FDA “is in no position” to guarantee drug safety, the brief said.

At issue is Wyeth v. Levine, a case expected to be heard late this year that could have far-reaching implications for litigation over allegedly harmful drugs, such as the painkiller Vioxx.

Lawsuits can serve as “a vital deterrent” and protect consumers if drug companies do not disclose risks to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration before it approves medicines for use, the editors of the New England Journal of Medicine said in a friend-of-the-court brief. The FDA “is in no position” to guarantee drug safety, the brief said.

At issue is Wyeth v. Levine, a case expected to be heard late this year that could have far-reaching implications for litigation over allegedly harmful drugs, such as the painkiller Vioxx.