October 10, 2022
Organizations Stand with American Society of Anesthesiologists in Support of Scientific Discovery as Pacira Legal Battle Continues
CHICAGO – The American Medical Association (AMA), Association of American Publishers (AAP), Counsel of Medical Specialty Societies (CMSS), American Society for Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics (ASCPT), and Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), filed amicus briefs in support of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) after Pacira Biosciences Inc., appealed its dismissed lawsuit filed against ASA, the editor-in-chief of Anesthesiology, ASA’s official peer-reviewed medical journal – and 11 contributing authors.
This past February, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey dismissed Pacira’s claims against ASA and related parties stemming from articles about its post-surgery pain medication EXPAREL in the February 2021 issue of Anesthesiology, a related podcast and other materials. U.S. District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo, who granted a defense motion to dismiss the case, found that the statements were scientific opinions that by their nature cannot constitute defamation. Pacira is now appealing that decision.
“Pacira’s appeal rejects the free exchange of scientific thought,” said ASA President Randall M. Clark, M.D., FASA. “ASA greatly appreciates the scientific and publishing communities standing by the importance of peer-reviewed journals to the medical community and the federal court’s decision to dismiss this case, which made it clear that pharmaceutical companies are not free to intimidate the scientific process by filing lawsuits.”
Highlights of the amicus briefs include the following arguments:
- According to the AMA, “Optimal medical care is possible only if researchers are free to publish the results of their research – and to critique the results of others’ research – without fear of a crippling lawsuit from those who may be disadvantaged by the open dissemination of medical and other scientific findings.”
- “Permitting suits like this to proceed to costly discovery – even if they are ultimately dismissed – will incentivize parties to bring their scientific disputes to court rather than establishing the merits of their products through competing studies,” said the AAP.
- “Indeed, medical journals are the primary medium through which physicians around the world exchange ideas,” said the CMSS. "As a result, the Council is interested in protecting the free exchange of ideas through medical journals so that its members can continue to pursue the advancement of safe and effective medicine."
ASA and the author defendants are represented by Michael B. Carlinsky, Ellyde Thompson, Kaitlin P. Sheehan and Robert M. Schwartz of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP and Kevin H. Marino and John A. Boyle of Marino Tortorella & Boyle PC. ASA General Counsel Jeremy Lewin facilitated ASA’s defense in the case.
ABOUT THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF ANESTHESIOLOGISTS
Founded in 1905, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is an educational, research and scientific society with more than 55,000 members organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology. ASA is committed to ensuring physician anesthesiologists evaluate and supervise the medical care of patients before, during and after surgery to provide the highest quality and safest care every patient deserves.
For more information on the field of anesthesiology, visit the American Society of Anesthesiologists online at asahq.org. To learn more about the role physician anesthesiologists play in ensuring patient safety, visit asahq.org/madeforthismoment. Like ASA on Facebook and follow ASALifeline on Twitter.