Faculty Director Gary Marchant published a groundbreaking paper and empirical study on genomic malpractice litigation. Genomic Malpractice: An Emerging Tide or Gentle Ripple? – co-authored with Rachel A. Lindor, a physician and researcher at the Mayo Clinic – was published in the latest issue of Food and Drug Law Journal.
Genomic Malpractice includes the first ever comprehensive study of genomic malpractice litigation. Marchant and Lindor pored over last 40 years of such cases for important insights.
[T]he frequency of such cases has risen modestly, but still remains at a fairly low level with 12 or fewer reported cases being closed per year. A total of 202 reported cases were identified and analyzed. Even more perplexing, the cases that have been litigated demonstrate a relatively high rate of success for plaintiffs; moreover, the average payout in such cases is an order of magnitude higher than traditional medical malpractice cases. The study concludes by assessing the reasons behind the relatively low rate of litigation, which is attributed primarily to the slower than expected uptake of genomic medicine by health care providers and the reluctance of plaintiffs’ lawyers to take such complex and scientifically-intense cases.
Marchant and Lindor also identify ten “red flags” that may signal liability risk for health care providers practicing genomic medicine. Identifying such risks will be increasingly important as genomics become a larger part of medical practice.
The National Human Genome Research Institute’s Ethical, Legal and Social Implications Research Program provided funding for this project. The paper has been published as open access.