Slow-Burning Cigarettes and Painkillers

Lawsuits and Legislators Fix Our World

Inebriated Press \ Tabloid Division
May 9, 2008

The Wall Street Journal reported that Pfizer Inc. struck a settlement with groups of plaintiffs’ party to a lawsuit that claims the painkillers Celebrex and Bextra caused heart attacks and strokes.  And the Kansas City Star said legislators are trying to force tobacco companies to sell slower-burning cigarettes for safety reasons.  Controlling the burn is a new theme among lawyers and lawmakers.

“You strike settlements to slow how fast a lawsuit burns your cash, and you pressure tobacco companies so that they better manage the fire that glows on the sticks we regulate and tax heavily to support our fiscal spending habits,” said Danny “Image Control” Hipe, a lawyer and legislator who believes that the combination of government and corporate control is what makes America great.  “I once burned through half my constituent’s taxes on a building project that I had my brother-in-law running, so I know about money, burn-rate and control.  I ignore it mostly when it works for me, but I know about it and that’s what it takes to get elected.”

Some people think that lawsuit settlements allowing a company to avoid a judge’s guilty declaration and the idea that there can be safer cigarettes is silly and makes a mockery of common sense.  “You kill people with your drugs you should go to jail, not hand someone cash and go on your merry way, that’s wrong,” said Mia Cleavage, a consumer advocate and future patron saint whose name is legend in somebody’s mind.  “And a safer cigarette?  Now you’re in conundrum-land which is inhabited only by lawyer types who ignore reality but seek to define it for you and me.”

The Wall Street Journal said lawyers estimate between 7,000 and 9,000 Celebrex and Bextra cases have been filed.  Attorneys representing Pfizer have indicated the company is willing to pay as much as $500 million to resolve all outstanding cases, according to two plaintiff’s lawyers.  The Food and Drug Administration ordered Pfizer to pull Bextra off the market because it significantly increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.  One study showed it increases heart attack risk by 50%.  The first Bextra trial was due to begin in federal court in San Francisco.  But last week, the parties agreed to adjourn the case so Pfizer could attempt to settle Celebrex and Bextra cases across the country, according to a lawyer involved in the case set for trial. 

The Kansas City Star reported that legislators are trying to force tobacco companies to sell slower-burning cigarettes as a fire safety measure.  The Kansas bill requires manufacturers to place bands in cigarette paper to stop that paper from burning, so the tobacco fire goes out.  Some people say that cigarettes that won’t stay lit makes them hard to smoke and are concerned that the stress may cause them to take medication produced by Pfizer which they fear could kill them.

“My grandmother smoked unfiltered Camels and died when she was 98 years old but my cousin was 46 when he was killed by Pfizer’s painkillers.  It’s time to leave tobacco companies alone and start getting serious about the pharmaceutical firms who are trashing TV with ad’s for libido enhancements, and trashing our bodies with killer chemicals,” said John Doe, a simple man whose muscular physique is the envy of men everywhere and a weekend hobby for some gal named Betty.  “I smoke because I want to and take medication when I have too.  The risk from something I want to do is my own business because it’s about my rights; the risk from something I have to do is the one that should be regulated for my safety.  The government can’t protect us from everything that comes along and they should be paying attention to the have-to’s not the want-to’s.  Of course most lawyers want to control everything because its volume business and the more they turn and more control they have, the more money and power they get.  I think most of them are assholes no matter what gets them off.”

In other news, the term “feel the burn” is often associated with exercise programs and are supposed to mean that you’re maximizing the labor of your muscles for greater health and strength.  No word on whether the term has been co-opted by Pfizer or the Kansas Legislature, but Work Out Specialists, Inc. have changed their slogan to “Feel The Warm” to avoid potential legal entanglements.

(C) 2008

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