Court turfs product liability suits against government

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                          For the record                                vices and medical treatments, the court                  The College promptly imposed con-
                                                                        argued. The government would be in-                  ditions on Poon’s certificate of registra-
                          Court turfs product liability                 clined to limit their availability in a bid          tion, requiring that he agree to have his
                                                                        to protect itself. “In addition, the impo-           family practice reviewed and that he
                          suits against government                      sition of liability could also discourage            participate in the province’s Physician
                                                                        medical advances and innovative tech-                Review and Enhancement Program


                      T
                                   he federal government owes no        nologies, which often come with risks                within 6-weeks. Should he pass that
                                   “duty of care” to individual         and without guarantees regarding their               program with a category 3 result, he
                                   Canadians in its regulation of       long-term consequences.”                             would be entitled to perform “minor di-
                          medical devices and thus can’t be held            Government liability would also in-              agnostic procedures on superficial le-
                          liable for harm resulting from their use,     evitably prompt industry to reduce its               sions less than 2 cm, under local anes-
                          the Ontario Court of Appeal has ruled         own vigilance as it would likely serve               thetic, for medical, not cosmetic
                          in rejecting a class-action lawsuit           as a “disincentive” to compliance. “Di-              reasons; incisions and drainage of su-
                          brought on behalf of an approximated          minished deterrence for a regulated in-              perficial abscesses; and suturing of un-
                          29 500 Canadian women who received            dustry is to be avoided particularly                 complicated superficial lacerations.”
                          Dow Corning silicone breast implants          when it is the industry, and not the reg-            But such minor surgical procedures
                          between 1962 and 1992.                        ulator, that holds critical knowledge re-            would remain prohibited if performed
                              Holding the federal government li-        garding product safety.”                             on the face or neck of a patient. —
                          able for harm caused by products such                                                              Wayne Kondro, CMAJ
                          as implants would ultimately result in
                          medical treatments becoming inaccessi-        Ontario medical watchdog                             DOI:10.1503/cmaj.081584
                          ble and limitations on Canadians free-
                          dom of choice, argued Justice Susan E.        censures family physician
                          Lang in a 3-0 court ruling (Attis v.
                                                                                                                             Briefly
                                                                        I
                          Canada (Health) 2008 ONCA 660)                     n the first test of its regulatory
                          that rejected lead plaintiffs Joyce Attis          crackdown on untrained family
                          and Alexandra Tesiuk’s negligence                  physicians who perform cosmetic                 Electronic cigarettes: The World
                          claim that asserted Health Canada was         surgery, the College of Physicians and               Health Organization says there is no
                          responsible for ensuring the safety of        Surgeons of Ontario has slapped the                  evidentiary basis for concluding that
                          all medical devices.                          wrists of a Toronto-area doctor for                  so-called electronic cigarettes — stain-
                              If that were allowed, it would invite     professional misconduct while per-                   les
				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: Imposing liability on Health Canada and other regulatory regimes might also have a "potential chilling effect on public health" because it would likely result in constraining access to new devices and medical treatments, the court argued. The government would be inclined to limit their availability in a bid to protect itself. "In addition, the imposition of liability could also discourage medical advances and innovative technologies, which often come with risks and without guarantees regarding their long-term consequences."
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