Where’s the Liability

Posted on November 17, 2022 View all news

Joe Tilton

January 18, 2018

The TV commercial flashes on the screen often, “Call 1-800-BAD-DRUG,” sponsored by attorneys wanting to take your case if you’ve been injured by some drug, knee-replacement device, hernia mesh, mesothelioma, or who knows what. “You may have compensation coming to you,” they say.

Most, if not all, of the “bad drugs” or procedures you can claim have caused damage have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), at an average fee to the government of $400-million each. No wonder pharmaceutical costs are so high! Still, many companies doing the research, testing and marching through the approval process are found liable for damages, and multi-millions are paid out each year for adjudicated damages. Ask your doctor about his malpractice insurance rates.

Big tobacco got hit hard when lung-cancer victims began suing cigarette makers because they were not warned about the dangers of smoking. Rather than clog the courts with thousands or millions of cases, a “Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement” was entered in 1998 against the “big four” that benefited 46-states with payments “in perpetuity” to fund campaigns against smoking through the American Legacy Foundation. A minimum of $206-billion is being paid through 2023, the year the agreement ends. Who knows what will happen after that.

Okay, that’s tobacco. It’s legal, available anywhere, and with warning labels on every pack. Now, there are two more major drugs on the market that cause changes in the human body and brains; alcohol and marihuana. When used in combination, serious results happen, which were explained in a previous article in the Lakeview Area News. Alcohol alone is the cause of 30 traffic-related deaths every day in the U.S. When you mix them, you see numbers increase as statistics show in Colorado. Marihuana alone may not be the reason for the increase, but marihuana makes alcohol more potent in the body. Where are the warning labels?

If major drug-manufacturing companies are liable for damage caused from use of their products, including birth defects, how is the alcohol industry not liable for the affect of their product? And now that the marihuana industry is being organized and legalized, such as it is in Colorado, why are these new “legal” entities not liable for what their products do to users? You say, “nothing?” Of all emergency-room visits in Colorado for drug-related issues, during the last statistical year, 85-percent were related to marihuana.

An additional issue is that “medical” marihuana is touted for its benefits, such as pain (physical and psychological) relief. The very term “medical” carries no indication of harm, but only benefit. This socially-accepted-mind-altering drug is being legalized outside the FDA, yet there is no mention that this new “industry” has any liability as do major-legal-product manufacturers. Precious little research has been or is being done in the U.S. on the substance, yet we know how it contributes to birth defects and impacts pre-age 21 developing brains with reduction of eight (8) IQ points. See what scientists are doing with this substance in other parts of the world. The YouTube video is listed below.

Will there be commercials, sponsored by attorneys, asking for all who have been damaged by marihuana use, medical or otherwise, to bring a suit comparable to the one big tobacco is now paying for? By organizing, attorneys have targets, defendants, to sue. If this legal domino falls, the next one could be your local licensing entity, Michigan’s townships, cities and villages. How much money is in these coffers to go after? There are 1776 governmental entities that can welcome marihuana dispensaries. If each has $500,000 in reserve, there is $888-million to go after. And should the state be held liable, how would your tax money be safe? There are many who steal for alcohol and marihuana money already; why wouldn’t they sue for damages to use even more? There is a precedent for such lawsuits; Big Tobacco. So while medical marihuana is being called a “beneficial drug,” the ones organizing had better disclose all of the effects and provide warning labels now. Governmental entities welcoming the extra cash from licensing marihuana, including the state, is well advised to consider the cost—legal, societal and damage to the next-generation work force.

Everything we do as a society has a risk/benefit quotient. This is true for marihuana as well. Cancer patients and those in great and constant physical pain can do whatever they believe will help them, including use of marihuana in any form. These are not the people who will file for a “Master Settlement Agreement.”

For a view of what science should be doing to avoid harmful results, watch the 28-minute presentation at; www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKy_KnjtBBg.

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