Tie protects the victims--temporarily
The US Supreme Court voted 4-4 to give the drug industry complete immunity for drugs approved by the FDA, despite fraudulent actions by the manufacturer that hid or distorted data to secure approval.
A decade ago, conservative Michigan legislators approved legislation that gave drug manufacturers complete immunity for drugs approved by the FDA, despite weakness and bias inherent in the FDA approval process that relies heavily on industry insiders. This new and unique legislation, which has been rejected in every other state, did contain an exception allowing suit where FDA approval was obtained by fraudulent use of data.
27 Michigan residents who suffered liver damage under these circumstances filed suit, and the drug manufacturer they sued sought to have the case dismissed, claiming that "the state has no legitimate interest" in protecting its citizens under these circumstances. Sadly, four justices agreed; Bush-appointee Roberts was forced to abstain this time around because of his ownership of Pfizer drug stocks. The 4-4 tie allowed the 27 plaintiffs to continue their suit, however, next term the Court hears argument on another immunity statute providing complete immunity for all FDA-approved drugs--without exception. You can bet that Roberts will have moved his stock ownership by then, so that he can vote to protect his friends.