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A Gift for Drug Makers
Herbert calls a ban on punitive damages against pharmaceutical companies “an unconscionable degree of protection” and a “bonanza” for industry.
“The whole idea behind punitive damages is to severely punish the most egregious offenders,” Herbert says. But, in that case, what standard establishes egregiousness if a firm has complied with all relevant laws and regulations?
Some safe harbor should be granted to corporations that make a good faith effort to behave responsibly. Until that happens, punitive damages will be meted out arbitrarily and pharmaceutical companies will avoid research on risky treatments. Our colleague Jim Copland, on our sister site Point of Law sums up the issue neatly as follows: “eliminating [punitive damages] when a drugmaker has complied with the FDA would lower costs on innovation, thus spurring drug development and/or lowering costs.”
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