You can't sue over being denied an EXPERIMENTAL treatment - and that's what the procedure is. There are a whole lot of slow and cumbersome steps which have to be gone through in order to run clinical trials - and there should be -- many drugs never make it to the market place because the clinical trials find them unsafe or ineffective - even some MS drugs which showed great promise in early trials.
Since so many are bound a determined to trash Tysabri, remember how that went -- Thousands of people took if for almost 2 years before anyone developed PML. It was pulled for more than a year and then allowed back on the market, but only with very close REQUIRED monitorring and a serious warning and consent requirements stating that the patient was made aware of the risks.
The stated risk is 1 in 1,000 of getting PML - and currently, several years later, the risk is not that high yet. (That frequently quoted number of 50 which keeps being repeated here is NOT accurate).
Lets see the data on the procedures which have been done overseas, other than the original doctor's test on 65 people - and HE says it needs further testing. The only reputable American hospital to try the procedure using stents stopped pretty fast when they determined the risk of stents was too high. Stanford obviously thought that stenting was worth the risk of trying, but they themselves discovered pretty fast that they didn't think it was, at least not now.
If 65 people had taken Tysabri for less than 2 years, would you have proclaimed it safe and effective? On the flip side, if you were one of the people taking it after it had gone through the clinical trials but before the first PML case was discoverd, and you developed PML would you have sued? Be honest.
In spite of the fact that many of us lobbied hard and testified for the right to take the risk of taking Tysabri and that it has helped thousands of people and had been tested on many people for a long time, some of you seem to object to that option being available, but want the venography offered as a standard medical treatment with almost no testing.
I am going to have the procedure in 2 weeks, but I consider myself a guinea pig and am willing to take the risk.
Its kind of disingenuous to scream about the pharmaceutical companies being partly responsible for not letting the procedure be done as a standard medical procedure. The pharmaceutical companies would love to be able to be held to weaker standards and put thier products on the market faster.
As to the insurance companies -- I have had my share of fights with them, as many of us have, but they are run for profit. As soon as the procedure is tested and approved, they would have to be insane not to have MSers have it done. Common sense - the drugs many of us are on cost $1500 - $5000 a month (not counting symptom drugs).
If the procedure works, why would they not prefer to pay a few thousand to have it done if it means that they would save the $5,000 a month ($60,000 a year) they are paying for my, and others', drugs. And that is what we all hope will prove to be true - that the procedure will halt progression, let us improve, and possibly even offer a cure.
Insurance companies are not run for good or evil - they are run to make money like any other business. They are not going to choose to pay $60,000 a year if paying $6,000 once or twice becomes an option.
As to doctors being stopped from doing the procedure - that's hardly a surprise - too many times doctors get sued for a bad outcome, even when they did not neccessarily act incorrectly or unprofessionally. Doctors should be held liable for gross mistakes, but we all know that many times people with a bad outcome sue because of the bad outcome. And being sued is expensive, no matter who wins.
Juries that award the penalties are people just like us. I don't know the answer --- I want patients who are damaged due to unproffesional care to be able to sue, but I also think that when things reach the point where doctors stop practicing or are unwilling to take chances (like with the procedure) because they can't afford the insurance premiums that things have gone too far - ob/gyn's being an example.