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Friday, November 10, 2017

Court ruling on expert testimony could open door to junk science

Andis Robeznieks
AMA Wire
Originally posted October 20, 2017

The New Jersey Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling soon that may affect more than 2,000 cases before the state’s courts. The court’s decision could have an even more far-reaching impact and might eventually undermine medical research, patient-physician decision making and informed consent.

The issue is whether scientific testimony expressing refuted theories that have not been subjected to peer review and do not follow the traditional hierarchy of scientific evidence should be admissible in litigation involving plaintiffs who claim their inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) was caused by the drug isotretinoin, marketed as Accutane by Hoffmann-La Roche, formerly headquartered in Nutley, N.J.

The first lawsuit on this matter was filed in July 2003. A hearing on whether the plaintiffs’ witnesses would be allowed to testify was held in February 2015, after which trial Judge Nelson C. Johnson barred their testimony. In May 2015, Johnson dismissed 2,076 related cases based on his ruling about the evidence.

This past July, a three-judge panel of the state appellate court reversed both the ruling barring the testimony and the dismissal of the cases. Hoffman-La Roche has requested the state Supreme Court to review this ruling.

The pressor is here.
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