You are here

Senator Frist Frivolously Dismisses Vaccine Damage

Daily News Navigator

In a recent article in the Financial Times, referring to the alleged link between litigation and an inadequate flu vaccine supply, “Bill Frist, the Senate majority leader from Tennessee, last week told a television audience that one cause for shortages was the ‘high cost of litigation - the frivolous lawsuits that come from these little, tiny vaccines’.” 

Now, Senator Frist and others may well argue that because some lawsuits are frivolous that these vaccine lawsuits are all frivolous and deserve to be stopped.  But arguing that won’t make it true or fair. 

And they may in the end, in spite of the inequity of the argument, get their way by making it even more difficult than it already is for those harmed by vaccines and other products to get rightly compensated. 

But really, now.  Did the good Senator honestly mean to suggest that size matters?  Exploding atoms, spores of botulism, tiny, deadly vials of poison like cyanide – why is he pretending to be unaware that tiny packages can deal a powerful punch? 

Might it be due to the fact that the Senator has considerable ties to the drug industry, including being the third highest drug company contribution recipient in Congress?  Might he be banking on the automatic trust bestowed upon doctors to once again try and pull the wool over our eyes?  Might this trust be completely undeserved and misplaced given the charges and enormous penalties lodged against the Frist family medical business, his own sizable fortune because of this business, as well as the other possible conflicts of interest?  

Now we all know what love can do to people.  But this love affair Senator Frist is having with the drug and vaccine manufacturers has really caused him to lose his head this time. 

For one, he seems to have confused having a hobby with having a lobby.   

But is it really such a good idea to bet the farm (i.e., re-election) on this relationship?  Is it really all that smart to use the “but, your honor, it was just a tiny bit of poison” argument in their defense? 

Sandy Gottstein

Date: 12-22-2003            

"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." - Wendell Phillips (1811-1884), paraphrasing John Philpot Curran (1808)