Up to Speed

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Bad news for cold and allergy sufferers who were hoping that the failure of the PATRIOT Act extension bill, into which the Combat Meth Act had been folded, would mean a reprieve from federal restrictions on the sale of medicines containing pseudoephedrine: It looks like the restrictions were added (see pages 137-149) to an appropriations bill that Congress passed just before its winter break. (The new rules take effect 90 days after passage, so you might want to stock up.) In Oklahoma, meanwhile, the widow of a state trooper killed by a speed freak has sued drug companies and retailers, including Pfizer, Wal-Mart, and Walgreens, for failing to comply with the law before it was passed.

Correction: As a couple of commenters have noted, the final version of this appropriations bill (HR 2862) did not include the pseudoephedrine provisions. Let the jokes about the title of this post begin.

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  1. “In Oklahoma, meanwhile, the widow of a state trooper killed by a speed freak has sued drug companies and retailers, including Pfizer, Wal-Mart, and Walgreens, for failing to comply with the law before it was passed.”

    Although I would like to assume this would get thrown out, you just can’t tell anymore. Regardless, people should have to pay ALOT OF FUCKING MONEY if they even attempt to lodge such idiotic lawsuits. I wouldn’t be against some good old fashioned Singaporean caning for these people, either.

  2. Remember when the idea of the gov’t telling you when you could sneeze used to be just a joke?

  3. another fine example of why being a lawyer should be illegal

  4. My prediction is that this law will kill any products with pseudoephedrine in them. I don’t know about the rest of the country, but if I get sick this winter and go to the store to buy medication I’m certainly not going to wait in line at the pharmacy counter just to put my name on some watch list…I’m going to grab whatever’s on the shelf.

    If I were more cynical I’d argue the government must be punishing the drug companies for something, but I must assume they have pretty good lobbyists, so it’s probably just bad, mis-guided legislation.

  5. In Oklahoma, meanwhile, the widow of a state trooper killed by a speed freak has sued drug companies and retailers, including Pfizer, Wal-Mart, and Walgreens, for failing to comply with the law before it was passed.

    Well I can see why she’d do that; Oklahoma does share a border with Texas, after all.

  6. I was nose-packed last week, and had a few old, good, pseudo-e Sudafed left over from the last sickness. Took ’em and felt great.

    When those ran out, I went to Walgreen’s and accidentally bought the non-pseudo-e pseudo-Sudafed (named “Sudafed PE” just to fuck with me). It doesn’t work. At all.

    Went back looking for the real stuff, but thanks to the meth-stop-o they only stock non-pseudo-Sudafed in a giant-capsule mixture with some cough suppressant etc–not the classic little red pills. Figured that’s the best I could do. Paid out the ass, and nearly choked trying to swallow them. And they don’t work. At all.

    Next time my nose starts feeling tingly, I’ll buy some meth and snort it. No other choice now.

  7. I’ve been told by the lawyers on this forum that there is no need to change the law, because judges have it in their power to toss out frivolous suits.

    This is clearly a frivolous suit, and if the system works as well as the lawyers on this forum say then it will be tossed out.

  8. I’d like to have phenylpropanalomine back too, while they’re at it. It used to be the cure for incontinence in dogs, at a penny a pill if you bought a thousand at a time.

    Some teenager was popping dexatrim, which contained it, and had a stroke, so they banned it for everybody, not just teenagers.

    They didn’t ban aspirin, which causes more strokes. So it looks like the hysterics, busybodies and handwringers are at it again.

  9. That bill you linked to is the Senate report. I’m pretty sure the conference report (which passed back in November, before the Patriot Act extension failed to pass) did not include the Combat Meth Act provisions.

  10. I’ve been told by the lawyers on this forum that there is no need to change the law, because judges have it in their power to toss out frivolous suits.

    The problem is that even if the case is thrown out, a defendent still has to pay for the services of a lawyer up to the point where a motion to dismiss is granted. Meanwhile, in many of the instances where such a lawsuit is filed, the law firm representing the plaintiff agrees only to be paid a percentage of any payment arising from a settlement or guilty verdict, thereby eliminating the financial risks for the plaintiff should a suit be thrown out, or a not guilty verdict delivered.

    All of this suits the shyster industry quite well, of course.

  11. That bill you linked to is the Senate report. I’m pretty sure the conference report (which passed back in November, before the Patriot Act extension failed to pass) did not include the Combat Meth Act provisions.

    Exactly. Here is the bill as enacted into law without those provisions:
    http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=109_cong_bills&docid=f:h2862enr.txt.pdf

  12. I’d like to have phenylpropanalomine back too, while they’re at it. It used to be the cure for incontinence in dogs, at a penny a pill if you bought a thousand at a time.

    Could you buy it from vet supply like Drs. Foster and Smith, or from abroad?

  13. Eric II,

    Lawyers who work on contingency are very, very careful about which cases they take on. It would make little sense for such a lawyer to take a case (s)he has absolutely no chance of winning or settling, and thus no chance of getting paid for.

  14. Absolutely no chance, yes. But human nature being what it is, I’m sure there have been situations where lawyers have worked on contingency on personal injury cases where the chances of success were below 50% simply because the potential payoff was significant.

    Morever, I’m sure there have been a fair number of cases taken up by lawyers on contingency in which the chances of a guilty verdict was deemed to be below 50%, but in which the lawyers figured that the odds of a settlement were higher, owing to the defendent’s desire not to have to deal with the costs of a protracted legal dispute.

    And there are probably other cases taken on contingency where the lawyers figured the odds of a dismissal were high, but that the odds of a guilty verdict at the hands of a sympathetic jury looking to stick it to The Man were also significant, should a case go to trial.

    Bottom line: I don’t object to lawyers being allowed to work on contingency, but I do object to a system where they’re allowed to work on contingency for plaintiffs when said plaintiffs have no obligation to pay a cent of the inevitable legal bills that will be accrued by a lawsuit’s defendents regardless of whether the suit is deemed to be of merit. And as noted in another thread, I’m also not fond of the compensation amount in the event of a guilty verdict being rendered by juries rather than judges.

  15. *cue the beat*
    I was gonna check out the latest info…
    until I got high…
    I was gonna check all over the web….
    but then I got high…
    now I look like an amatuer blogger and I know why…
    cause I got high, cause I got high, cause I got high….
    *end of bad lyrical joke*

  16. Well, I didn’t intend for my comment to imply that I’d be happy with a situation where the defendant has to pay his lawyers even though the case was thrown out.

    My point was simply that if the system is working then, at a bare minimum this case should be thrown out.

  17. I realize that; I was just countering the assertion by others that there’s nothing wrong with the system provided that frivolous claims are usually dismissed by judges.

  18. Mr. Ken Shultz: What’s with the guilt-by-association trip on the Great State of Texas? Would you have said the same thing about Arkansas, Kansas, or Colorado? Not even a good joke. Yes, I’m a native Texan – 6 generations on one side (1858), 7 on the other (1843). If I matched the stereotypes you seem to be playing with, I’d ‘ave already told you to “Draw Mister!“, but since there’s been no material harm done (except to your rep. here), I, as a modern libertarian, will abide the ZAP and say: “The gentleman doth protest too much.”


    Mr. Hardin: “…. They didn’t ban aspirin, which causes more strokes. So it looks like the hysterics, busybodies and handwringers are at it again.”

    They haven’t yet partially because aspirin was grandfathered in when the FDA was created. I’ve read several places (including Reason, I think) that if it had to pass the OTC approval today, aspirin would be a prescription only medication.

  19. Speaking of bringing back pointlessly banned drugs, what’s the situation with ephedra? I lost 20 pounds with the loaded version of Trim-Spa a few years ago. The newer ephedra-free version – surprise! – doesn’t work at all.

  20. It’s thread spillover, Sphynx. …and football rivalry, long as the Redskins are doin’ okay. …and I just can’t get over the fact that we beat the bastards twice. No one’s been able to pop my bubble since. I downloaded Parcell’s post game press conference from the week before last, and I replay it every tinme I even start to feel blue. …and I laugh and laugh and laugh.

    …Anyway, it’s mostly tounge in cheek. I hope people don’t take it too seriously. …except when I do. It’s all good. Peace brother! ; )

  21. Why is it that I can still buy good old fashioned ephedra at some convinience stores? Isn’t this shit illegal now?

  22. As someone who had to hand his ID over to a clerk today just to get a few Day-quills, I’ve got to say that this is all totally worth it. In few weeks, there isn’t going to be any meth anymore. Problem solved.

    FUCKING IDIOTS

  23. By the way, you can thank the govenment for all the armed robberies that are about to start taking place in supermarket pharmacies everywhere.

  24. I’ve been thinking of getting some jollies off of purple drink (cough syrup) in the New Year. How much should you drink if you want to get high but don’t want to fuck up your nervous system?

  25. If I were more cynical I’d argue the government must be punishing the drug companies for something

    gee, the drug companies will probably have to pay the pharmacies more for shelf space behind the counter than in front. That means the price of the drug will go up. If the demand is elastic, then that is bad for drug companies because they will lose a lot of sales at the higher price. On the other hand, if demand is inelastic, then . . . increased profits, increased barriers to entry — its ALL GOOD.

  26. T. nails it (with the standard disclaimer that we haven’t read this lady’s complaint or seen her proof). It remains to be seen how credulous T. will be if a drug company comes back and says they have to increase prices on account of this lady’s suit.

  27. I hope it won’t affect people too much.

  28. The suit also names Ricky Ray Malone, who was convicted of killing trooper Nikky Joe Green. Malone was high on methamphetamine during the December 2003 shooting, the newspaper said. A mobile methamphetamine lab was found in Malone’s car.

    She is suing the killer as well? Talk about blaming the victim! (Victim of the drug companies that is.)

  29. Herrick – “head” on over to Erowid and search for dextromethorphan or DXM, they’ve got some pretty good guides.

    Then find something else to drink. Blech!

    And I’d be more concerned about effing up your brain – Olney’s lesions are for movers and shakers.

  30. My point was simply that if the system is working then, at a bare minimum this case should be thrown out.

    The fact the lawsuit was even filed is proof that the legal system is nothing but a sick joke.

  31. It remains to be seen how credulous T. will be if a drug company comes back and says they have to increase prices on account of this lady’s suit.

    That will depend on how much they spend defending against the suit and how far it goes before it’s dismissed.

    And if the jury actually finds in favor of the plaintiff, cold sufferers everywhere should rise up and exact retribution upon the plaintiff, her lawyers, and the jury.

    We don’t actually have to kill them. We can just take rotating shifts where we follow them around constantly, infecting them. As soon as they recover, somebody with a different strain can come along and infect them.

  32. You can file whatever you want. Although I sometimes wouldn’t mind having suits be vetted by a panel of judges or something as part of the filing process. I know it is possible for a judge to dismiss a case sua sponte, of his own volition, but it doesn’t usually happen except in the case of “I accuse the Vatican and the CIA of implanting a radio transmitter in my head to make me sleep badly” kind of stuff.

  33. I know it is possible for a judge to dismiss a case sua sponte, of his own volition, but it doesn’t usually happen except in the case of “I accuse the Vatican and the CIA of implanting a radio transmitter in my head to make me sleep badly” kind of stuff.

    Haven’t there been cases where plaintiffs have won jury awards because they claimed that they lost their psychic powers after car crashes or other injuries?

  34. Jeebus, Ron Hardin, just how many constipated dogs do you own?!?

  35. 1) Take 8 sudafeds
    2) Play Wrodl of Warcraft for 72 hours straight
    3) Profit

  36. Boogerman–

    You can order pseudoephedrine (and ephedra and ephedrine) online here. You have to fill out a form and send them a copy of your DL the first time you order, but not for subsequent orders.

    Oh yeah, and this lawsuit is utterly ridiculous. Which is why an Oklahoma jury will probably award huge damages, especially against the EEEEVVVIIILLLL Wal-Mart.

  37. Even back in the days of Prohibition, the government wasn’t stupid enough to ban fruit juice and yeast on the grounds that they could be used to make alcohol.

    Which Reason staff member was it, who recently posted a story about how humans are supposedly getting smarter? No offense, dude, but I think you’re wrong.

  38. This is clearly a frivolous suit, and if the system works as well as the lawyers on this forum say then it will be tossed out.

    This lawyer has long and publicly stated that the protections against frivolous lawsuits are a pathetic joke. That part of the system doesn’t work.

    Lawyers who work on contingency are very, very careful about which cases they take on. It would make little sense for such a lawyer to take a case (s)he has absolutely no chance of winning or settling, and thus no chance of getting paid for.

    But it costs very little to file a suit, and getting a “nuisance” settlement from a defendant is very easy to do, regardless of how crappy the case is. The defendant knows (a) it will cost at least $20K to get even the most ridiculous case dismissed, (b) dismissal isn’t guaranteed, and (c) the plaintiff can easily run up that bill by engaging in discovery before the hearing.

    With this set of facts in mind, the plaintiff lawyer’s offer to settle for $20K before discovery or the motions have really gotten underway is a good deal for the defendant (in the warped context of litigation). Since plaintiff’s lawyer has a few thousand sunk into the case, its a good deal for him, too.

    Its an extortion racket. You can smear all the lipstick you want on the plaintiff’s bar, but its still mostly pigs.

  39. This lawyer has long and publicly stated that the protections against frivolous lawsuits are a pathetic joke. That part of the system doesn’t work.

    Good point, R C, I’m sorry for overlooking you. I should have said “some lawyers on this forum.”

    I remain unconvinced that across-the-board “loser pays” is the right solution. But I am convinced that more losers should pay. I’d have no problem with the plaintiff having to pay if the case is dismissed before it gets to trial.

    This plaintiff probably isn’t interested in settling. She seems to be on a crusade to punish the people whom she blames for her husband’s death. If so, then she can’t be paid to go away. She’ll take it to a trial if the case isn’t dismissed.

  40. By the way, you can thank the govenment for all the armed robberies that are about to start taking place in supermarket pharmacies everywhere.

    It’s already underway (sorta), at least here in SoCal – Wednesday a guy bypassed the line of customers, drew a gun and hopped the pharmacy counter, grabbed a couple handfuls of painkiller bottles, hopped back over, and ran out. Can’t find a link, but it was on the news morning yesterday.

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