Attorney Ronald Laba’s Counterargument
The recent Avandia litigation shows why this is not a solid defense for a drug maker. Avandia was a blood sugar drug marketed to diabetics. The manufacturer previously had conducted clinical studies showing Avandia caused heart attacks and significantly increased the risk of coronary heart disease. This was troubling on its own but even more so since diabetics already were at higher risk of heart disease than the normal patient population to begin with.
The drug was marketed to diabetics anyway. Predictably, when things started going wrong, the manufacturer argued there was no harm done because most Avandia takers already were at risk and probably would have suffered a heart attack at some point anyway as a result of the normal diabetes disease process. This approach did not pay off for the manufacturer. Why? Since diabetics already had a heightened risk of heart attack it was successfully argued that these were literally the last people the product should have ever been marketed to.
Most diabetics never would have taken Avandia in the first place had they been told the risks up front. Considering there were many other blood sugar medications available to diabetics that were just as effective but did not increase heart attack risks—this was especially true.