Misuse of public health funds
Incidence: As the side-effects of new medical treatments are discovered, the people suffering those side effects group together to sue the drug manufacturers or the national health system for not having tested their products adequately. Many of the plaintiffs use legal aid, and call on medical experts as witnesses. This drains the health system, which often is the defendent. Much of this litigation is viewed as being opportunistically encouraged by the legal profession. In Britain, lists of accident victims are bought by legal firms who wish to locate potential clients. In 1995, in Britain, there were 12000 medical negligence cases, which cost the public over 21 million pounds. Most of the money was spent on lawyers. In the benzodiazepine suit, 35 million pounds were spent, of which none went to the plaintiffs. It all went to lawyers and expert medical witnesses.
Problem Type: G: Very specific problems
Date of last update 03.02.2001 – 00:00 CET