The United States has been known as a landof opportunity and growth for both individuals and business, but it is alsoknown as the land of the lawsuits. In the United States you can practicallysubmit a law suit for almost everything, especially if it’s a lawsuit against alarge corporation. As a pharmaceutical company we need to be aware of thoserisks and how they can potentially harm us.
Asa pharmaceutical company the liability for the industry is very high comparedto other industries. The main liability is dealing with people’s health as partof the nature of the business and any mistake made would be considered asnegligence in the eyes of society. There is drug researching and testing thatneeds to be done in order to determine if the drug on hand can go public and assuringthat the risks for its consumers would not be of harm to their health.
Most ofthe times these type of research requires the human factor testing element andit is at this point when the liability increases because now there is thepotential of a person getting harmed. Even though the testing is done to volunteersif something goes wrong the liability falls in the company and there can be alaw suit filed for negligence. Everyday there are new drugs that are hittingthe market which increases the tort of business liability in its three forms,intentional, unintentional or strict, because pharmaceutical companies have todo more testing and researching which increases the odds of something goingwrong with the volunteer test groups. These eventually lead to higher insurancecost for the companies and translate to higher medical cost to the consumers. Not only the tort liability falls with thecompany but it can also escalate to a criminal liability. The ABC pharmaceuticalcompany and the actions of their representatives can result in the followingpotential torts; Assault, Battery, Breach of Duty, and Strict Liability.
Assault is defined as the threat of immediateharm or offensive contact, or any action that arouses reasonable apprehensionof imminent harm (Cheeseman (2016)). Actual physical contact is unnecessary to be considered assault. Battery is defined as unauthorized andharmful or offensive direct or indirect physical contact with another person thatcauses injury (Cheeseman, 2016, p. 116). Breach of Duty is failure to exercise care and Strict Liability is whenthere is unusually unsafe activities in turn caused an injury.
Representativesfor the ABC pharmaceutical company are liable under the torts listedabove. As part of the nature of thebusiness representatives of the ABC pharmaceutical company can prescribe andtest drugs on volunteer research groups. If any harm to the volunteers is doneit can be seen as apprehension of imminent harm, the company representativesare responsible for the indirect contact that caused injury, and can be seen asthey did not exercise care when making the decision administer the drug. Theactual scope of actions in tort for personal injury is severely limited in somecases. Only certain types of injury arelikely to get compensated. The ABC pharmaceutical company may be sued forliability and being the accident happened with one of their drugs, they couldbe held liable but the ABC pharmaceutical company did not have control over therepresentative’s actions or how the volunteer’s health was going to react tothe drug.
There are a few ways a company can lower their risks of potentialtorts but the most important one would be due diligence efforts. Due diligence can identify and responsibilitymanage potential risks. Due diligence inthe acquisition, sale, or dissolution of a business can uncover any legalissues (Mann & Bellamy, 2013). Inthe case of the ABC pharmaceutical company making sure that their employees areproperly trained and certified on how to prescribe and administer drugs. Byadding more extensive research on other living organisms prior to testing thoseon humans can prevent them from putting themselves and their clients in harm’sway.
Analyzing the potential severe harms that their product can have onconsumers and determining if it is worth the risk and lastly by closelymonitoring the results of their tests.The need for a reform that addresses the tortliability for business at least in the pharmaceutical industry is needed. Mostof the pharmaceutical companies operate in high risk environments and it is thenature of the their business, research and development is being constantly doneto avoid harm to consumers but a lot of times civil lawsuits are filed againstthem on the grounds of negligence. And it is costing companies higher amountsof money to conduct and develop new drugs to help us with any diseases that arein place.