At the end of March 2013, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (USJPML) consolidated all pending cases against Granuflo manufacturer Fresenius before the U.S. Federal Court for the District of Massachusetts. This accomplishes two things: it eliminates all duplication of efforts when it comes to the discovery process, and it moves the trial to a venue near Fresenius' U.S. headquarters – making it easier to obtain documents and other evidence that the company knew of the dangers regarding the use of its dialysis product and deliberately withheld this information from doctors and patients. (In fact, Fresenius did share this information – but only with personnel employed at its own private dialysis centers.)
A month later, Fresenius reported that earnings per share of ordinary stock for the first quarter of 2013 had dropped by eight percent from a year ago. This, despite the fact that revenues from dialysis services are up by ten percent in the U.S. Dialysis services made Fresenius over $2.6 billion worldwide in 2012. Spokespeople for Frenesius nonetheless complained in the media that their U.S. income is down due to higher wages and costs in the U.S. - which is the company's “most important market.”
It's a market. Not healthcare...not concern for making people better and treating their medical problems. It's about their profits.
If allegations against Fresenius stand – if the jury finds that the company deliberately and willfully failed to warn doctors and patients outside their own, profit-driven clinics about the possibility that their product could cause a serious chemical imbalance in the blood that may result in cardiac arrest – it will come as little surprise.
And the few millions in awards that will be given to injured plaintiffs – which are likely to be appealed and the cases dragged out for years – will barely make a dent in the company's multi-billion dollar profits. Will the few millions doled out the plaintiffs have any punitive effect? FMC has paid hefty fines before, but their conduct seems to have remained the same. Will any of the executives be punished criminally? Perhaps that might help to ensure that FMC curbs their alledgedly dangerous practices.
How much longer do we as a people tolerate this?
N/A. “Fresenius Earnings Lower Y/Y “ (Analyst Blog). Zacks.com via NASDAQ. Available at http://www.nasdaq.com/article/fresenius-earnings-lower-yy-analyst-blog-cm242589 .
N/A. “UPDATE 1-Fresenius Medical Profit Below Consensus on U.S. Costs.” Reuters, 30 April 2013. Available at http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/30/fmc-results-idUSL6N0DH0X220130430.
Turner, Heidi. “Another GranuFlo Lawsuit Filed Against Fresenius.” Lawyers and Settlements, 13 April 2013. Available at http://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/articles/granuflo-recall/granuflo-lawsuit-recall-fresenius-2-18626.html#.UYK4qrWTgzc
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