HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

New Defense for Doctors in Florida

This proposed law is not the way that I would recommend solving the so-called medical malpractice crisis.  According to the Daily Business Review:

Just months after the discovery that Florida doctors were treating patients with a dangerous, unapproved botulinum toxin to remove wrinkles, the Legislature has quietly passed a measure that would make it harder to discipline doctors for using unregulated pharmaceutical products.

The bill, spearheaded by state Sen. Durell Peaden, R-Crestview, a retired physician, gives doctors facing disciplinary action by the state Department of Health a powerful new defense against any allegation of misusing drugs. Under the bill, doctors can argue to the state that they relied in good faith on the representations of the drug manufacturer or its representatives, and that the doctors had no intent to violate the law.

While the language was crafted as a result of the widely publicized use of unregulated stabilized botulinum toxin, which was distributed by Tucson, Ariz.-based Toxin Research International, the measure is broadly written and could apply to doctors' use of any pharmaceutical product.

Under the bill, doctors would be allowed to use this new defense only in Health Department disciplinary cases, not in criminal or civil malpractice cases. If signed into law by Gov. Jeb Bush, the bill could thwart attempts by the Health Department to sanction a number of doctors it has accused of using unapproved knockoffs of Botox.

Relying on drug manufacturer or its representatives, particularly its sales people, does not provide me with much sense of quality control -- but perhaps I am being too suspicious.  [bm]

| Permalink