Your RDA of Irony

Pre-empting Your Health

D.K. Pharmaceuticals announces its new wonderdrug “Necro Nectar.” Made with all natural arsenic, with a touch of antifreeze for flavor, Necro Nectar will stop aging and allergies, and is guaranteed to cure a cold. Necro Nectar was approved by Food and Drug Adminstration as soon as the checks cleared. ($100 for the FDA registration and $100,000 for the George Bush Presidential Library.)

There may be side effects to Necro Nectar, such as rigor mortis and a desperate belief in God. However, any survivors cannot sue D.K. Pharmaceuticals because of the legal doctrine known as “pre-emption.” Based upon the common law principle of “Nyah, nyah, you can’t touch me”, pre-emption grants immunity from all liability because the Government says it can. No matter how dangerous the drug, a FDA approval absolves the manufacturer of incompetence, corruption and malice. And no matter how perfunctory, inept or facetious the FDA approval procedure, ain’t that your tough luck.

For the moment Necro Nectar does not exist. However, there actually are on the market a number of risky drugs and medical devices. Their danger has been irrefutably proved, but pre-emption protects their right to kill you.

Today’s New York Times tells of a Johnson & Johnson birth control patch with a few unfortunate side effects that the company preferred to hush up. In fairness, strokes and death are effective forms of birth control. The dead customers are not objecting, but the stroke victims seem to be petty ingrates and have sued the manufacturer. Once the side effects were made public, Johnson & Johnson willingly changed the product to be less lethal. Who says the Free Market doesn’t work! But the company refuses to acknowledge any responsibility for its dead and crippled customers. “Pre-emption, pre-emption.”

Some courts, apparently suffering the antiquated principle of justice, have found in the favor of the plaintiffs. However, there is always another court–preferably larded with Bush appointees–to protect pre-emption and the sanctity of corporations. Antonin Scalia believes birth control is a capital offense, so those strickened customers got what they deserved.

So Johnson & Johnson will inevitably win. In the First Age of the Robber Barons, William Vanderbilt rebuffed criticisms of his monopolistic tactics with the rejoinder, “The public be damned.” That was his personal opinion, but it is now the federal policy.

  1. Peggles says:

    Necro Nectar sounds like a great euphemism for embalming fluid.

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