Anytime a new drug is created, whether it’s for prevention or treatment, it is supposed to undergo rigorous testing for efficacy and side effects. After all, it does no one any good if the drug kills the virus but leaves you with life-threatening organ damage or another serious medical condition. The process for drug approval when it comes to the coronavirus is being fast-tracked because of the urgency of the situation. The fear is that this can prove to be a fatal cocktail and a medical product liability nightmare.
According to Forbes, a new study is proving what everyone’s mother has long known: that the world might be a safer place when women are in charge. The study has shown that in medical companies where multiple women hold positions on the board of directors, products and treatments that are highly dangerous due to defects are recalled from the market 35% faster than they are with all-male boards.
The study revealed that in some cases, medical companies whose boards had no women had a greater risk of defects going unnoticed. This means that dangerous drugs and devices remained on the market causing harm that could otherwise have been avoided. Even when the medical product or medication isn’t life-threatening and is small enough for regulators to miss, female involvement leads to recalls 120% more often.
When it comes to a review of 20 Covid-19 treatments and vaccines in the process of being developed, boards of the companies working on almost half of these drugs lack any female representation or only had one female board member. In comparison, another drug on the list, Remdesivir, comes from Gilead. The company’s board is almost half female, which is important given that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is fast-tracking the drug.
Why women are a safer gamble for drug recalls
When it comes to a potentially fatal virus, who would you trust more when it comes to the safety of fast moving drug approval, and why? The reasons for trusting women are grounded in pretty basic logic. As stated above, we have the caretaker angle, but here are additional reasons to give it some serious thought:
- Women have had to fight their way to the tops of these medical companies and work harder to earn a seat at the board room table. It took a lot of careful, painstaking decision making and sacrifice along the way to ensure they would be taken as seriously as their male counterparts. Failure wasn’t an option unless they were prepared to seek another career path.
- Fear of making a mistake and sliding back down the corporate ladder forces women to follow every rule to the letter, which results in catching more errors.
- Women who make it that far typically have some type of scientific or medical background that makes them an asset to any board of directors of a manufacturer in the medical field.
- They focus on the details of compliance and patient safety when preparing for board meetings, which allows them to home in on lesser thought of issues for management to take into consideration when making recall decisions.
Corporate culture also plays a role in recalls. The study showed that companies with two or more women on their boards of directors had very different criteria for recall policies. Boards that included women implemented a recall if they could not disprove liability within 3 days while companies with all male boards issues recalls only if they couldn’t prove they were at fault within 3 days. The method employed by the male and female boards errs on the side of caution and deepens the ethical responsibility to keep patients safe.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a medication or medical device, don’t wait to get help. The experienced Oklahoma City medical product liability attorneys at Cunningham & Mears know that your health is at stake and that you should have the resources necessary to ensure your future. To schedule your free case evaluation with a member from our team, call 405-232-1212 today or we invite you to reach out to us through our contact form.
Ryan Y. Cunningham is a founding partner of Cunningham & Mears. Mr. Cunningham devotes his practice to protecting the rights of injured Oklahoma residents. In addition to assisting injured clients, Mr. Cunningham endeavors to improve personal injury representation by speaking on issues related to personal injury law to attorneys in continuing legal education courses and to law students. Learn More