Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Dennis Quaid: Expert on Federal Preemption
Hollywood actor Dennis Quaid, best known for starring in some movies I can't quite recall, took on a new role today as an expert witness on federal preemption.
He appeared before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committeee to testify about the overdose of blood thinner his twin babies received last year due to a labeling problem.
Quaid (pictured) was presumably there to put a human face on an otherwise dry hearing about whether the Federal and Drug Administration can invoke preemption to stop lawsuits like the one the actor has filed against the drug manufacturer, Baxter Healthcare Corp.
Obviously well briefed by his attorneys, Quaid did a decent job of explaining the issue.
He mentioned the forthcoming Supreme Court case on a related issue (Wyeth v. Levine) and highlighted the understaffing problems the FDA cases.
But his real concern was what he and his congressman in L.A., committee chairman Henry Waxman, see as a sneaky attempt at tort reform through the back door.
"A federal ban on lawsuits against drug companies would not just deny victims compensation for the harm they experience," Quaid said. "It would also relieve drug companies of their responsiblity to make products as safe as possible."