Skip to comments.The Implant Axis - Silicone breast implants (SBIs) are back.
Posted on 10/21/2003 8:12:43 AM PDT by bedolido
Silicone breast implants (SBIs) are back. A Food and Drug Administration committee recommended last week that the implants be available to women who want them. The real story, though, may be the stealthy efforts of some personal injury lawyers to prevent FDA approval. Based on new evidence of connections between activists and lawyers, it appears that the lawyers might be surreptitiously using anti-SBI activists to scare the FDA and public about SBIs.
The SBI controversy is the poster child of 1990s junk-science fueled tort litigation. That decade saw personal injury lawyers generate about 170,000 plaintiffs, now in the final stages of extorting a $4.5 billion settlement from former SBI manufacturers. Yet no scientific evidence supported claims that SBIs caused the chronic connective tissue diseases alleged in the lawsuits -- so concluded a comprehensive 1999 review of the relevant scientific data by multidisciplinary experts at the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine. Other national and international regulatory bodies have reached the same conclusion. But those conclusions came too late to prevent the damage done by then-FDA Commissioner David Kessler's 1992 ban on SBIs. His blunder opened the litigation floodgates. The ban forced implant manufacturers to buy peace from tort lawyers rather than risk unpredictable litigation that might last for decades.
Personal injury lawyers, eager to close their multibillion dollar settlement deal, might not be looking forward to FDA rehabilitation of SBIs. Not only would the return of implants guarantee a black eye for the lawyers, it might even threaten their pending multibillion dollar settlement. It would be unseemly, of course, for the trial lawyers to openly oppose FDA approval of SBIs. That's where the supposed activists enter the picture.
The anti-SBI "activist" group Command Trust Network issued a press release in July calling for the FDA to slow down the approval process. The release listed Dane VandenBerg as the contact person at Command Trust. But Mr. VandenBerg is actually a publicist for a PR firm called Turner Strategies, whose president was a senior vice president at Fenton Communications, a notorious and acknowledged PR firm for trial lawyers, including O'Quinn & Laminack -- the pre-eminent law firm for breast implant plaintiffs. O'Quinn has reportedly already made tens of millions in the SBI sweepstakes and stands to make much more if the settlement is finalized.
Despite the impression given by its grandiose name, Command Trust is in fact only one person, Sybil Niden Goldrich, who once responded to a question about the science not supporting her case, "The science? The devil with science. It doesn't matter any more." The other founding member of Command Trust, Kathleen Anneken, years ago quit the "group" in disgust noting that Fenton worked "more for the lawyers than they do for ."
Command Trust's Web site lists 11301 West Olympic Boulevard, Suite 332, Los Angeles, Calif., as the organization's address. The 11301 address is in fact a UPS Store. There is no "Suite 332," only a UPS drop box. The address is symbolic of the fact that Command Trust is most likely merely a front for the lawyers.
In a 1997 deposition, Ms. Goldrich admitted that Command Trust had never received a bill from its former PR firm, Fenton Communications. Instead, Fenton's bills went to an entity called the Women's Institute for Silicone Education and Research, on whose board Ms. Goldrich served along with Rick Laminack of O'Quinn & Laminack.
Ms. Goldrich is not the only activist who's been directly or indirectly activated by the trial lawyer network. Diana Zuckerman, president of something called the "National Center for Policy Research for Women & Families" has also been running around Washington scaring anyone who will listen -- especially congressional and FDA staff, and the media -- about SBIs. According to the 2001 tax return for Ms. Zuckerman's group, it was 75% funded by the Tides Foundation, a mysterious foundation and perhaps financial laundromat for trial lawyers and left-leaning activists. Who is the Tides Foundation's PR firm? Fenton Communications, of course.
In addition to using activists to recreate SBI hysteria, the trial lawyers also are going after the legal foundation that has significantly reduced the likelihood that junk science will make it into a courtroom -- the 1993 Supreme Court decision in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals. A group of well-known activist researchers have formed something called the Project on Scientific Knowledge and Public Policy. Its purpose is to find a strategy for circumventing Daubert.
The Project is funded by something called the Common Benefit Trust, an expense account originally set up to compensate SBI plaintiff lawyers for legitimate services and expenses incurred in connection with SBI litigation. The Common Benefit Trust is also the financial sponsor of recent newspaper ads depicting SBIs as ticking time bombs, according to a well-placed PR consultant for the activists. And overlooking the seeming misappropriation of Common Benefit Trust monies to fund anti-SBI activities, guess who's a trustee? Sybil Niden Goldrich.
During the '90s, personal injury lawyers asked the National Organization for Women to get involved in the SBI litigation. It should come as no surprise that NOW launched an attack in July on the FDA's likely approval of SBIs. NOW partnered at the symposium with the personal injury lawyer-loving Naderite group Public Citizen. The printed materials available at a related news conference included material from Command Trust.
No one disputes that some women have legitimate and even expected complaints about their implants and that there are certain risks associated with SBIs. But as a prominent public affairs consultant for the anti-SBI activists reluctantly acknowledged to me, "The lawyers were greedy in the 1990s. Deserving women lost out."
Tort reform anyone?
She'll be happy...
Of course, it's all about money -- for the trial lawyers. Who, in turn, give campaign donations to (pro-abortion) politicians.
All we have to do is show up.
Um,, if we judge by names, Ralph, hopefully NOTHING! :-)~
A very close friend had them removed several years ago and I saw the pictures of the punctured implants. The blood was black and the silicon in still in her body.
As far as me making myself attractive... My wife thinks I'm attractive and that's all that matters to me.
I try and stay in shape... if I could get a height-implant to make me taller I'd do it.
I thought they were singing:
"Good sense, innocense, cripple mankind.
Dead kings, many things, I can't define. Occasions, bars, sweatins' pressin' your mind. Incense and peppermint the color of time.
Who cares what games we choose?
Little to win, but nothing to lose.
Incense and peppermint, meaningless bounds.
Turn on to Lynn, turn your eyes around."
(by Strawberry Alarm Clock)
She's So High (Above Me) by Tal Bachman
She's blood , flesh and bone No tucks or silicone
She's touch , smell , sight , taste and sound
But somehow I can't believe
That anything should happen
I know where I belong
And nothing's gonna happen
'Cause she's so high
High above me, she's so lovely
She's so high , like Cleopatra , Joan of Arc, or Aphrodite
She's so high , high above me
First class and fancy free
She's high society
She's got the best of everything
What could a guy like me ever really offer ?
She's perfect as she can be, why should I even bother ?
She calls to speak to me
I freeze immediately
'Cause what she says sounds so unreal
'Cause somehow I can't believe
That anything should happen
I know where I belong
And nothing's gonna happen
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