Report: Litigation drives up health costs, damages society
NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Dec. 12, 2005
Health care litigation not only drives up medical costs in the United States, but it also takes money away from research that could save lives, according to a report released in October by the Manhattan Institute.
The Indianapolis-based organization's Center for Legal Policy offers a critical review of the trial attorney industry in its report. The organization says lawyers target physicians, pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers, leaving in its wake an access-to-care crisis and a lower expected return on research.
The report, "Trial Lawyers Inc.: Health Care: The Lawsuit Industry's Effect on American Health 2005," says trial attorneys' indiscriminate approach to filing lawsuits forces physicians to settle claims despite their professed innocence. Yet, patients typically receive less than 50% in damages because of attorney and administrative fees, according to the report.
Chris Mather, a spokeswoman for the Assn. of Trial Lawyers of America, refuted the report's findings. She said one of its primary sources of information was Tillinghast-Towers Perrin, whose medical liability industry data was "widely discredited by major news outlets."
Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2005/12/12/prbf1212.htm.