The tortious ties of the Prescription Project

  • by: |
  • 03/27/2007
As we noted The Prescription Project is " an initiative of the Boston-based nonprofit healthcare advocacy group Community Catalyst, which made headlines a little over a year ago when it sued Pfizer over its marketing claims for Lipitor. The Prescription Project is being conducted in partnership with the Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) and is funded by a USD 6 million, two-year grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts and money from George Soros.

In addition, the group has assembled a prestigious advisory committee whose members include Cathy DeAngelis, the editor-in-chief of JAMA; Steven Nissen, the president of the American College of Cardiology; and Philip A Pizzo, the dean of the Stanford School of Medicine."

Part of this campaign includes class action lawsuits initiated by the Prescription Action Litigation Project which in turn is comprised of Trial Lawyers Inc (large trial firms that seek huge monetary damages by suing corporations) and their public advocacy front, Public Citizen and various state organizations.

For instance, one mainstay of the PALP is the law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro (HBSS) which has been going after Pfizer for what is alleges are "false marketing claims by pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer. We are investigating claims made for its cardiovascular disease drug Lipitor, that encouraged doctors to prescribe the drug for patients when it was not necessary or healthy to do so." The firm is claiming that Pfizer encouraged doctors to prescribe the cholesterol drug for hypertension, chronic kidney disease, and many other unapproved illnesses besides the prevention of cardiovascular disease. ...

Hagens, Berman is famous for suing Starbucks for unbridled competition and being slapped with a $10 million penalty for violating their ".. duty of loyalty to three small water bottlers that in 2003 were close to settling a claim with Nestle Waters North America, the owner of Poland Spring Water Co." "Seattle law firm told to pay $10.8 million", Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Mar.24; Lattman, Mar. 24).

Public Citizen and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) works closely with Hagens Berman and other tort firms through Community Catalyst and TPP and other conduits to attack off label prescribing via fishing expeditions, testimony and now legislation at the state level to force doctors to either disclose or disgorge any money obtained from drug or biotech firms for any purpose.

This is not an effort to 'clean up' medicine. This is a witch hunt, a Stalinist effort to purge medicine of any relationship between academia, private industry and clinicians. And it is an effort to presume that off-label prescribing is both hurtful and possibly criminal behavior. Let's be clear: the goal is to create another opportunity for shaking down the drug industry and physicians. All you need are RiskMaps that prohibits and limits off-label prescribing and you have a whole new source of revenue for tort lawyers.....

Sort of like shorting currencies and buying them up. No wonder Soros is involved.

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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