Study: Rx Drug Lawsuit Ads Cause Spike in Reports of Patient Health Incidents, Deaths

U.S. Chamber's 18th Annual Legal Reform Summit Highlights Research on Improving the Litigation Environments of the U.S., Canada, and EU

October 25, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new report released today by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) shows that lawsuit ads targeting prescription drugs and medical devices have caused at least 61 serious medical events – including six deaths – an increase from previous reports. ILR released Bad for Your Health: Lawsuit Advertising Implications and Solutions at its 18th Annual Legal Reform Summit, along with research papers on improving the litigation environments of the United States, Canada, and the European Union, respectively.

Bad for Your Health cites a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) report that patients stopped taking their prescribed medications after seeing ads promoting lawsuits against the drugs’ manufacturers. The study follows another recent report showing that at least 30 people suffered serious medical problems – including two deaths – because they stopped taking the blood-thinning drug Xarelto without their doctors’ approval after seeing related lawsuit commercials.

“Plaintiff lawyer ads targeting prescription drugs are frightening people out of taking prescribed medicines, and in some cases, even scaring them to death,” said ILR President Lisa A. Rickard. “The ads illustrate that the modern litigation landscape resembles a jungle more than ever, and the plaintiffs’ bar sees businesses as the prey.”

The Summit, titled The Litigation Jungle, features keynote addresses by U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. The event brings together top experts to examine current legal trends such as plaintiffs’ lawyer advertising, emerging technologies and liability, data privacy liability, third party litigation financing, and over-enforcement.

ILR also released Unstable Foundation: Our Broken Class Action System and How to Fix It, which shows that most class action lawsuits fail to provide compensation to class members or deter wrongful conduct, and recommends reforms for Congress to pursue.

Additionally, Collective Redress Tourism: Preventing Forum Shopping in the EU examines the spread of class action mechanisms in the European Union, features of the framework that encourage “forum shopping” for favorable venues, and proposed solutions to discourage abuse.

Finally, Recipe for Reform: A Proposal for Improving Canadian Class Action Procedures recommends a dozen reforms to discourage meritless class actions, encourage the timely resolution of class proceedings, and ensure that related costs are fairly distributed among plaintiffs, defendants, and other interested parties.

As part of the Summit, ILR is honoring key individuals and organizations working to improve the litigation environment across the globe with its Annual Legal Reform Awards. More information about the awards and recipients can be found here.

ILR seeks to promote civil justice reform through legislative, political, judicial, and educational activities at the national, state, and local levels.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.