Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse issued a press release today pointing out that, according to a new national study by the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, many personal injury lawyer websites disguised as health care websites are jeopardizing public health.
Two entities have been mentioned above. Like our local baseball teams in Baltimore and Washington these days, you can’t tell the players without a scorecard.
Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse sound like a bunch of nice, good folks from someplace like Iowa who want to fight abuses that concern our tort system. Using the word “citizens” helps create that effect. In fact, Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse is a front for corporate America to limit the rights of product liability, accident, and medical malpractice victims (probably in that order for this group). I could write a lot about their funding, but I think this will suffice: Philip Morris is believed to be one of their biggest contributors. I have not looked at their website, but I will guess that’s not mentioned anywhere on there.
Center for Medicine in the Public Interest reportedly conducted the “study.” Now if you are unimpressed by the group’s title, nothing will impress you. I’m picturing a bunch of selfless doctors sitting around with a lot of medical books and journals trying to figure out how to help people. Yet, when their director appeared on PBS’s NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, they described him—apparently without objection – as a director of “a group that receives funding from the pharmaceutical industry.”
Do we really need a “study” on this topic? I’m not saying these sites are not out there, I must have seen none. The Internet is not such a behind-the-scenes world where we need a study to find out what is on it. Tell us the websites and what you believe is misleading about them.
One of their findings is that 65% of search results on two FDA-approved prescription drugs – Crestor and Avandia – were on sites containing biased or unverified, negative information. I can’t speak much about Crestor, but, yes, lawyers have great discussions regarding Avandia on their websites. Most of them discussing the New England Journal of Medicine study on the problems with Avandia, which appears to show that Avandia significantly increases the risk of a heart attack. I would be curious whether the Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse find information in the New England Journal of Medicine as “unverified negative information.” I think they would find the health risks of tobacco to be “unverified negative information.” This reminds me of the lawyer that objects to evidence as “unduly prejudicial” because the information is harmful to the lawyer’s client’s case.
Look, make a list of personal injury lawyer websites that are pretending to be health care websites offering medical advice and opinions. Let’s look at those and evaluate whether they are misleading the public by pretending to be health care websites or if they are providing information that is incorrect.
The Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse accusing someone pretending to be something they are not is downright Spitzer-like.