First, we have this, from the World Health Organization (WHO): “There is no specific medicine to prevent or treat coronavirus disease (COVID-19).”
Nevertheless, doctors around the world, often with the approval of their national governments, are treating many patients with experimental or “off-label” antiviral drugs.
Here are some names of the medicines: Chloroquine, Remdesivir, Ribavirin, favipiravir, lopinavir; ritonavir, hydroxychloroquine, Sofosbuvir, corticosteroids, oseltamivir, zanamivir.
They all have adverse effects.
What to do?
Answer: decide that no one who is injured by the drugs can file a suit.
In America: Done.
From druganddevicelawblog.com, March 18, 2020, “We Finally Have Something To Say About COVID-19”:
“On March 17, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) published in the Federal Register a ‘notice of declaration’ conferring broad-based immunity from tort (including product liability) litigation for those engaging in ‘activities related to medical countermeasures against COVID-19.’ This declaration is now published at 85 Fed. Reg. 15198 (HHS March 17, 2020).”
“HHS is conferring tort immunity…The immunity extends to ‘any claim of loss caused by, arising out of, relating to, or resulting from the manufacture, distribution, administration, or use of medical countermeasures’…The immunity extends not only to COVID-19-fighting drugs, but also to ‘products or technologies intended to enhance the use or effect of a drug, biological product [vaccine], or device used against the pandemic’…The only exception is for ‘willful misconduct’.”
“The immunity being conferred shoves other federal laws aside as well as preempting state law.”
And that takes care of that.
A patient is given an antiviral drug and dies? No law suit can be filed. Anyone associated with the drug, from manufacturer down to prescribing doctor, is exempt from liability.
Take one example of a drug, Chloroquine. It’s approved for the treatment of malaria, and now some doctors are using it on their COVID patients. From webmd.com, here is the “side effects” section (note: once the page loads, then click on the “Side Effects” tab at the top of the page):
* “Blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, headache, and diarrhea may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.”
* “Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.”
* “Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: bleaching of hair color, hair loss, mental/mood changes (such as confusion, personality changes, unusual thoughts/behavior, depression), hearing changes (such as ringing in the ears, hearing loss), darkening of skin/tissue inside the mouth, worsening of skin conditions (such as dermatitis, psoriasis), signs of serious infection (such as high fever, severe chills, persistent sore throat), unusual tiredness, swelling legs/ankles, shortness of breath, pale lips/nails/skin, signs of liver disease (such as severe stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine), easy bruising/bleeding, muscle weakness, unwanted/uncontrolled movements (including tongue and face twitching).”
* “This medication may rarely cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Tell your doctor right away if you develop symptoms of low blood sugar, such as sudden sweating, shaking, hunger, blurred vision, dizziness, or tingling hands/feet. If you have diabetes, be sure to check your blood sugars regularly. Your doctor may need to adjust your diabetes medication.”
* “Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: severe dizziness, fainting, fast/slow/irregular heartbeat, seizures.”
* “This medication may cause serious eye/vision problems. The risk for these side effects is increased with long-term use of this medication (over weeks to years) and with taking this medication in high doses. Get medical help right away if you have any symptoms of serious eye problems, including: severe vision changes (such as light flashes/streaks, difficulty reading, complete blindness).”
* “A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.”
* “This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.”
No liability. No law suits. No problem.
Except for the patient.