“Pre-emption” is a legal doctrine that says the federal government can claim all regulatory power over an area or subject, barring states from acting on their own. The drug maker Wyeth has brought a case before the Supreme Court arguing that a woman in Vermont, who lost her arm due to a drug complication that Wyeth knew about but did not publicize, cannot sue them in state court because of pre-emption. Wyeth says that only the FDA has the power to regulate it—and since the FDA approved Wyeth’s drug label, it’s the FDA’s responsibility. We think Wyeth is pretending to care about federal-versus-state power in an attempt to weasel out of any responsibility.
Back in January, Herbert Hawks made a hole-in-one on a golf simulator at the Maryland State Fairgrounds, and he won $25,000. (You can watch the winning shot here.) WBAL TV reports that as of late July he has yet to see the prize money, and every person or company the TV station has contacted passes the blame on to someone else. At the bottom of the list is Golf Marketing Worldwide, a company that insures hole-in-one contests and has a history of not paying out on contests and/or doing business in states where the company doesn’t have a license.
“When honest human beings have a vested stake in seeing the world in a particular way, they’re incapable of objectivity and independence,” said Max H. Bazerman, a professor at Harvard Business School. “A doctor who represents a pharmaceutical company will tend to see the data in a slightly more positive light and as a result will overprescribe that company’s drugs.”
In Minnesota, a state in which drug company payouts are disclosed to the public, “More than 250 … psychiatrists together earned $6.7 million in drug company money — more than any other specialty. Seven of the last eight presidents of the Minnesota Psychiatric Society have served as consultants to drug makers, according to the Times examination.”