Clinical Expertise in Medical Product Litigation

On not "losing in translation"

Harold J. Bursztajn, M.D. Director
Harvard Medical School
Program in Psychiatry & the Law

With thanks to the Harvard Medical School Program in Psychiatry and the Law

Communications counsel provided by Gavin Anderson & Co.

Merck’s product liability challenge

"Looming lawsuits, angry investors, declining profits: The Vioxx debacle is just the latest setback for the proud pharmaceutical giant." Fortune, November 1, 2004

. . . there was murder before Prozac . . . eg. Cain and Abel


Disparate Disciplines + Different Languages + Adversarial System = Disastrous Consequence

The Goal

Medical/Clinical Expertise + Legal Expertise + Scientific Expertise = Integrated Structured Communications

Who do you hire . . .

. . . to run the Boston Red Sox?

Shakespeare knoweth the books, but, alas, not the baseball

A baseball player knows baseball, but . . . Well, frankly, he's not telling

Answer - Theo Epstein!

What is the clinician's role?

Translation from the Attorney's perspective:

What is the clinician's role?

Translation from the Clinician's perspective:

Navigating the continuum

Breaking language barriers

When to seek an interpreter

Choosing the "right" expert

Goal = Attribute Balance

Pitfalls to avoid

Choose Wisely

Model expert skill set

The "best" expert must be able to see and comprehend a host of factors related to the plaintiff:

Remember . . .

Guiding principles

Parting Thoughts