A bandwagon West Virginia should be on

By Chris Dickerson | Mar 1, 2016

Our parents taught us as kids that the mere fact that everyone else is doing something is insufficient reason to justify doing the same thing. It may even be the very reason not to do it.

On the other hand, just because everyone else is doing something doesn't mean it's wrong or inadvisable. Everyone else may actually be onto something and merit imitation.

If everyone else is doing something better or faster or more enjoyably than you, you might want to find out how they're doing it.

The same logic applies to states as well as to individuals. Some bandwagons don't bear boarding. Others aren't to be missed.

For instance, the courts of every state in the union, save those of West Virginia, accept and apply the “learned intermediary” doctrine, whereby prescription drug companies are considered to have fulfilled their obligation to consumers by providing warnings to prescribing physicians.

In West Virginia, drug companies are expected to communicate directly to consumers and can be held liable for any harm allegedly suffered by individuals claiming not to have received or not to have properly understood those communications.

So, are all the other states wrong and West Virginia right? Or is it vice versa?

That depends on whether you prefer easy access to prescription drugs or easy access to lawsuits against prescription drug companies. We currently have the latter, not the former.

Bear in mind that West Virginia's status as the sole state rejecting the learned intermediary doctrine makes it the venue of choice for would-be litigants from other states as well, further discouraging drug companies from doing business here.

Our state legislators have wisely concluded that West Virginia should do what all the other states are doing. They've passed a bill to establish the learned intermediary doctrine as a defense for drug companies being sued for allegedly failing to provide adequate information to consumers.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin should sign the bill.

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